In the end, the long-awaited transition was swift and methodical—a day after Karnataka’s BJP strongman B.S. Yediyurappa stepped down as chief minister on July 26, the party’s legislators went into a huddle in a Bangalore hotel. Within hours, a new leader was chosen. But rather than attempting a complete revamp of Karnataka affairs, the central leadership seems to have settled for a safer bet in naming Basavaraj Bommai as the new chief minister, given that state elections are about 22 months away.
All through the previous week, Yediyurappa had kept up the suspense over where things were headed, saying he was awaiting word from the party high-command on whether to continue or quit. In fact, things were just as uncertain when the CM rose to speak at an event held to mark his second year at the helm. But Yediyurappa didn’t dwell much on the occasion at hand and settled into what was actually his valedictory address—tracing his early days in a fledgling party in Karnataka until finally breaking into tears as he announced his decision to step down.