Bengaluru: Who is going to be sworn in as the next chief minister of Karnataka? Yeddyurappa or Yediyurappa.
The MLA from Shikaripura who was elected to the Assembly in May 2018 is not the same one who will be taking oath, if you go by his name. Yeddyurappa’s 2018 election affidavit spells his name as ‘BS Yeddyurappa’, while his latest letter to the Governor, staking claim to form government, calls him ‘BS Yediyurappa’.
Sometime between being a two-day CM in May 2018 and wannabe-CM in July 2019, Yeddyurappa has dropped a 'd' and a 'i' to his name, going back to his earlier spelling of 'BS Yediyurappa’.
Interestingly, he has used the latest spelling for most of his life, from winning his first election in 1975 as a member of the Shikaripura Town Municipality till he became CM for the first time for just seven days in 2007 in a coalition agreement with the JD(S). But around the time he became CM, he changed his name to 'Yeddyurappa' on the advice of numerologists. At the time, the move had attracted quite a bit of ridicule. Newspapers shortened his name to 'Yeddy', which in Kannada means a 'moron'. His media team had to tell editors to shorten his name to BSY, instead of Yeddy.
His CM-ship, however, was short-lived, after the JD(S) pulled support from the. He came back as CM on a sympathy wave in May 2008, but again, could not complete a full term. His term was merely three years, as the BJP high command wanted him to resign in the wake of the multi-thousand-crore illegal mining scam. Which is why, two days ago, when the first letter on BS Yediyurappa's letterhead, written to BJP chief Amit Shah after the JD(S)-Congress coalition lost the trust vote, reached the media, many thought perhaps it's a fake letter.
The BJP leader's letter to party chief Amit Shah.
After all, just the previous day, caretaker chief minister HD Kumaraswamy's 'resignation' letter was doing the rounds on WhatsApp and had been declared fake by Kumaraswamy himself.
But calls to BS Yediyurappa's aides confirmed that his letter to Amit Shah was not fake. Initially, his aides brushed off questions on the way the name is spelt. “No, there is no change in the name. It's the same as earlier,” one of them said. What they didn't say was which 'earlier' spelling was being used.
A staff in his office at the Vidhan Souda says the spelling change was made on the nameplate on his door in room 101 (the chamber designated to the legislature party in the opposition) a few weeks ago.
The nameplate outside Yediyurappa’s office in the Vidhan Souda sports the new spelling.
Sources in the party say he was advised that the changed spelling of 2007 didn't seem to have any impact on his political career, as all his chief ministerial stints have been short-lived. It was seven days in 2007 (12 November to 17 November), three years from May 2008 to July 2011, and just about 48 hours in 2018. So astrologers and numerologists have advised him to revert to the older spelling.
The move seems to have been prompted by the hope that, at least this time, he wants to ensure that he can stay in the CM's chair for the remaining four years in this Assembly. After all, his political growth from 1975 was mostly uninhibited, so it's got to be a safe bet.
However, he is already 76. The BJP's internal rule is that those above 75 must not be holding ministerial posts. But the party also realises that Karnataka is the only state in the south where they have some standing and it cannot afford to ignore the popularity and the caste base that he enjoys. By 2023, when the term of the 15th Assembly ends, he will be 80.
Bhookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa was named after the village deity of Yediyur village in Tumkur district in 1943. For the BJP, everything is vested in this name as far as their own political prospects are concerned.
But the staff in his social media team seem to have not been kept in loop about his astrologer's advice or his own preferences. His verified Twitter handle @BSYBJP spelt his name as ‘BS Yeddyurappa’ till a good three hours before the swearing-in ceremony on Friday.