BENGALURU: With a political career spanning over 21 years, S Basavaraj Bommai has always been considered a former socialist now owing allegiance to BJP.
For, his father and former chief minister SR Bommai was from Janata Dal and he too began his political career from the same party. He has a rather tolerant approach as opposed to a hard Hindutva stand, much in the same style as his other mentor, former chief minister BS Yediyurappa.
A three-time MLA and two-term MLC, Bommai (61) is considered to be as shrewd as his father. That Bommai was chosen as Yediyurappa’s successor within 24 hours of the resignation suggests his continued association with the Lingayat strongman has yielded rich dividends.
The meteoric rise, within 13 years of joining BJP, indicates his astute political sense and ease with which he navigated the tumultuous times and scandals dogging Yediyurappa. It may be recalled that Bommai did not leave BJP to join Yediyurappa when he created KJP in 2013. However, it is said he played a crucial role in bringing him back to BJP on the insistence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On joining the BJP government in 2018, Bommai became Yediyurappa’s shadow. He was given the dual responsibility of home as well as law and parliamentary affairs to help him make crucial decisions. Though hailing from the smaller sub-caste (Sadar) of the Lingayat community, Bommai seems to be a choice that both Yediyurappa and the central leadership have agreed upon. While his appointment may be considered a setback for the anti-Yediyurappa camp, the central leadership’s calculations suggest Bommai may help BJP keep the former chief minister close and thereby keep a stranglehold on the Lingayat votebank.