BENGALURU: It’s often said age is just a number. But for Karnataka’s BJP leader B S Yediyurappa, his age became a handicap, and he had to abide by the party’s unwritten dictum of retiring its leaders from active politics after they attain 75 years of age. Though Yediyurappa beat the dictum for three years, he stepped down from the Chief Minister’s post in July, 2021.
The Lingayat strongman turned 79 years old on Sunday and as greetings poured in from across the country, the Lingayat strongman holds a special place in the hearts of the Muslims and Dalits. He demolished the general concept that if a BJP is at the helm of power, the minorities and oppressed become secondary citizens.
Speaking to the New Delhi Chronicle, BJP State Minority Wing President Syed Salam said Yediyurappa was the first CM to provide more facilities to the Haj House in Bengaluru, a project which was pending for years. Besides Rs 1,500 crore allocation was made for the minorities in the 2021-2022 budget. Also Rs 200 crore was earmarked for the Christian community for programmes including renovation and repair of churches, building of community halls, assistance to orphanages and old age homes.
In 2018, he suggested that the Haj House in Bengaluru be named after the late, former President Abdul Kalam Azad. The Haj House inaugurated in 2016 is said to be the first of its kind in India, where all formalities including immigration will be done for Haj pilgrims.
Salam recalled that whenever a Muslim came to meet Yediyurappa, the former CM would attend to him first. “He erased the reservations among the Muslims that BJP is anti-minorities, and gave them positions in the party,” Salam added.
Former BJP MLC and a Dalit leader D S Veeraiah. said in 2008, as convenor of the election manifesto committee, he had proposed sanction of land for the Chaluvadi (Right Wing of Dalits) Mahasabha . Yediyurappa sanctioned two acres for the Mahasabha in Bengaluru. Also the SC/ST Development Corporation was bifurcated and a separate corporation for the Banjaras or Lambanis who come under the SC category in Karnataka was given.
The Karnataka State Minorities Commission got a fillip with a Buddhist monk nominated by Yediyurappa and to encourage the SCs, former IPS officer Subhash Bharani, who joined the BJP was made chairman of the Karnataka Silk Industries Development Corporation.
The former CM was instrumental in sanctioning loan for the SC/STs from. The Karnataka State Finance Corporation at 4 percent per annum.