Caste factor makes Shettar win Karnataka top job

 Life has come full circle for Jagadish Shivappa Shettar, who lost the race for the top post in Karnataka last year only to emerge stronger now with the support of BJP strongman B S Yeddyurappa.

The caste factor worked in favour of Shettar, who was sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister today, at a time when Assembly polls are less than a year away.

Nearly a year ago, Yeddyurappa had hand-picked D V Sadananda Gowda and ensured Shettar's defeat in the legislature party meeting to elect a new leader after he had to quit as Chief Minister following his indictment in a Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

56-year-old Shettar, propped by senior party leader H N Ananth Kumar and State BJP President K S Eshwarappa last year, had sportively likened it to a semi-final cricket match and said age was on his side. Today, it was proved right

Yeddyurappa had wanted to be the undisputed leader of the influential Lingayat community, to which Shettar also belongs and plumped for Gowda, a Vokkaliga, in August last.

However, it was now time for Yeddyurappa to "correct his mistake" as he came under fire from a section of the Lingayat community  for not backing Shettar last year.

And this time, his message to the party high-command was loud and clear: Make Shettar Chief Minister or face consequences.

The BJP central leadership bought "resourceful" Yeddyurappa’s argument that it makes lot of sense to face the next Assembly elections, due in May 2013 under a Lingayat leader. The party counts Lingayats as its key political base.

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