COVID-19: Karnataka CM looks to consolidate his stature

Amid coronavirus pandemic, Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa looks to consolidate his stature

The administration may be receiving flak from all quarters, but Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s statesmanship, especially his non-communal outlook during the COVID-19 crisis, is getting noticed and earning him brownie points.

This is arguably his last stint as the CM Yediyurappa is seen positioning himself away from the hardline stance his BJP colleagues are known for.

For latest updates and live news on coronavirus, click here

His recent letter of gratitude to the Karnataka Jesuit Educational Society, which runs the St Joseph’s institutions among others, for their coronavirus relief works went viral on social media, winning him laurels.

“It’s been a long time since we have seen such old-fashioned gracefulness in Karnataka’s politics that ⁦Yediyurappa⁩ certainly is an exemplar of, a stark contrast to the arrogant brashness of several junior colleagues of his,” activist Leo F Saldanha, a Josephite, said in a tweet.

Yediyurappa received praise when he publicly chided communal statements targeting Muslims during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has personally reached out to the Muslim community seeking their help in containing the virus.

“Yediyurappa is a street fighter who rose from the grassroots through struggle. A man like that can never be communal and he has never taken hardcore, radical stands,” political commentator Muzaffar Assadi said. “In Shikaripura, even Muslims vote for him. And today, he has managed to instill confidence among them. While it’s quite obvious that he’s rising above petty politics, he must go a step further and give representation to minorities.”

Yediyurappa, 78, struck a chord when he called up a nurse in Belagavi to praise her service, an onion farmer in Chitradurga assuring her help and arranging medicines to be sent to a family in Belagavi.

CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL COVERAGE ONLY ON DH

“He knows that this, perhaps, is the last leg of his chief ministership and he doesn’t want to go as someone who oversaw bickering among communities,” political analyst Harish Ramaswamy said. “Also, he knows that BJP high command is strong and he can’t go against them. So, the best way is to gain support from communities, including the Opposition.”

The Opposition Congress has vowed to support Yediyurappa during the Covid-19 crisis, but Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshan is not entirely convinced. “He’s a fair man alright, but what’s the effect on the ground? When the top leader says minorities shouldn’t be targeted, his own party leaders don’t seem to care. Will the public listen?” he said.