Basavaraj Bommai
BasavarajBommai.jpg
23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka
Assumed office
28 July 2021
GovernorThawar Chand Gehlot
Preceded byB. S. Yediyurappa
Minister of Home Affairs
Government of Karnataka
In office
20 August 2019 – 28 July 2021
Chief MinisterB. S. Yediyurappa
Preceded byM. B. Patil
Succeeded byAraga Jnanendra
Minister of Law & Parliamentary Affairs
Government of Karnataka
In office
21 January 2021 – 28 July 2021
Chief MinisterB. S. Yediyurappa
Preceded byJ. C. Madhuswamy
Succeeded byJ. C. Madhuswamy
Minister of Cooperation
Government of Karnataka
In office
27 September 2019 – 10 February 2020
Chief MinisterB. S. Yediyurappa
Preceded byBandeppa Kashempur
Succeeded byS. T. Somashekhar
Minister of Major & Medium Irrigation
Government of Karnataka
In office
7 June 2008 – 13 May 2013
Chief MinisterB. S. Yediyurappa
Sadananda Gowda
Jagadish Shettar
Preceded byK. S. Eshwarappa
Succeeded byM. B. Patil
Member of Karnataka Legislative Assembly
Assumed office
25 May 2008
Preceded bySindhura Rajashekhar
ConstituencyShiggaon
Member of Karnataka Legislative Council
In office
6 January 1998 – 17 April 2008
Succeeded byShivaraj Sajjanar
ConstituencyDharwad Local Authorities
Personal details
Born (1960-01-28) 28 January 1960 (age 62)
Hubli, Mysore State, (present-day Karnataka), India
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party
Other political
affiliations
Janata Dal (United)
Janata Dal
SpouseChennamma
Parent(s)S. R. Bommai
Gangamma
ResidenceBengaluru
EducationB.E.
Alma materKLE Technological University
CabinetBasavaraj Bommai ministry
Websitewww.bsbommai.com

Basavaraj Somappa Bommai // (listen)(born 28 January 1960) is an Indian politician and engineer who is the current and 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the legislature of Karnataka for Shiggaon, from where he has been elected three times since 2008. He is graduate in Mechanical engineering, Bommai started his political career with the Janata Dal. Between 1998 and 2008, he was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council. He served as Minister for Water Resources and Cooperation between 2008 and 2013. Bommai served as Minister of Home Affairs, Co-operation, Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislature of Karnataka in the Fourth Yediyurappa ministry. He also served as Minister in charge of Haveri and Udupi districts. On 28 July 2021, he succeeded B. S. Yediyurappa as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.[1] He is popularly called as the "Common Man - CM" by the media and his followers.[2] In July 2022, Bommai became only the second person from BJP Karnataka, to complete one year as chief minister of the state.[3]

Bommai is the son of the former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Union Minister of Human Resource Development, S. R. Bommai, who is widely remembered as the champion for the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India, S. R. Bommai v. Union of India, considered one of the most quoted verdicts in the country's political history.[4][5][6] Basavaraj Bommai and his father are only the second father and son duo after H. D. Devegowda and H. D. Kumaraswamy to become the Chief Ministers of Karnataka.[7]

Personal life

Bommai was born on 28 January 1960 to former Chief Minister S. R. Bommai and his wife Gangamma Bommai in Hubli, Mysore State (present-day Karnataka).[8] Bommai is a graduate Mechanical Engineer from B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology (presently KLE Technological University), and started his career with Tata Motors in Pune. He is also an agriculturist and industrialist by profession. He is married to Chennamma and has two children.[9] He belongs to Sadar Lingayat community.[10]

Early political career

Member of Karnataka Legislature

Bommai was elected as a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council, twice (in 1998 and 2004) from Dharwad local authorities constituency.[11] He served as a political secretary to then Chief Minister J. H. Patel.[12] He quit the Janata Dal (United) in February 2008. He later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in February 2008.[13]

In the 2008 Karnataka state elections, he was elected to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Shiggaon constituency in Haveri district. He was considered as a close aide of the then Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa.[14]

Cabinet minister of Karnataka

Karnataka Minister for Water Resources, Shri Basavaraj Bommai called on the Union Minister for Water Resources, Prof. Saifuddin Soz, in New Delhi on October 17, 2008
Karnataka Minister for Water Resources, Shri Basavaraj Bommai called on the Union Minister for Water Resources, Prof. Saifuddin Soz, in New Delhi on October 17, 2008

In February 2008, he left Janta Dal (United) and joined  Bharatiya Janata Party. The same year he was elected to Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Shiggaon constituency. Between 2008 and 2013 Bommai served as Minister for Water Resources under Chief Ministers B. S. Yediyurappa, Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar.

Bommai is widely acclaimed for his contributions to irrigation schemes and deep knowledge regarding irrigation matters in Karnataka. He is also credited with implementing India's first 100% piped irrigation project at Shiggaon in Haveri district of Karnataka.[15][16]

In the Fourth Yediyurappa ministry he held key ministerial portfolios, serving as Minister of State for Home Affairs, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and as Minister for Cooperation. He also served as Minister in charge of Haveri and Udupi districts.

In December 2019, a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Mangalore turned into violence and riots when a mob of protesters attempted to lay siege to the Mangalore North police station and tried to attack cops. Section 144 was imposed by the Police department around the areas of the riots. Later two people were killed in Mangalore in police firing after protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act turned too violent.[17] The Home Minister Bommai set-up a team and ordered probe into this matter. Over 60 people were identified and detained by the cops after the December 19th violence. The Karnataka government also suspended mobile Internet services in Dakshina Kannada district in Mangaluru for few hours in the wake of violence.[18][19]

After the 2020 Bangalore riots, then Home Minister Bommai ordered a detailed investigation and assured compensation for damaged property be forcibly provided by known participants in the riots, a policy proposed by Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh following anti-CAA protests there.[20]

During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Karnataka, Bommai, as Home Minister, imposed strict lockdown regulations.[21] Bommai converted his residence at Shiggaon in Haveri district into a Covid Care Centre that could accommodate up to 50 patients, to reduce the burden on the Shiggaon taluk hospital. He also appointed doctors and medical staff to take care of the patients along with oxygen concentrators.[22][23]

Chief Minister of Karnataka

See also: Basavaraj Bommai ministry

Chief Minister Basavarj Bommai, meets the Union Defence Minister Sri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.
Chief Minister Basavarj Bommai, meets the Union Defence Minister Sri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

B. S. Yediyurappa resigned as Chief Minister on 26 July 2021, on the second anniversary of his term. Dharmendra Pradhan and G. Kishan Reddy were sent by the national leadership of the BJP to carry out the selection of the next chief minister. On 27 July 2021, Bommai was elected to the post.[24][25][26] He was sworn in the next day as the 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka, becoming the fourth chief minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state.[27] On his very first day as the Chief Minister, after the cabinet meet he announced scholarships for higher education to farmers' children. He also increased the pensions of widows, physically challenged and senior citizens of the state.[28][29]

In August 2021, under Basavaraj Bommai's administration Karnataka became the first state in the country to implement the National Education Policy 2020.[30]

Bommai, with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Bengaluru in June 2022
Bommai, with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Bengaluru in June 2022

In September 2021, Basavaraj Bommai's administration faced criticism over the demolition of local temples that were not approved by the government, following a Supreme Court order. Due to public outcry, he ordered a halt on the demolition of temples.[31][32] [33]

Bommai revived Pratibimba - the Chief Minister's Dashboard, an online portal to review developmental works designed in line with that of Prime Minister's Office in October 2021.[34][35]

Bommai's government passed the Anti-Conversion bill (The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill) in December 2021, which prohibits forcible conversion of religion from one to another, by fraud, allurement or marriage. The bill provided some exemption if one needed to re-convert back to his/her immediate previous religion.[36] The oppositions staged various protests condemning this bill, both in the floor of the house and in various places around the streets.[37][38]

Bommai presented his maiden Karnataka state budget with an outlay of 2.6 lakh crores in March 2022.[39] The main highlights included flow of money of around 30,000 crores for construction of fly-overs, under-pass, highways, Namma Metro and hospitals in Bangalore; 11,500 crores to inland transport; 9,500 crores to the development of Mekedatu project, Upper Krishna Project, Upper Bhadra River and Arkavathi River projects.[40][41]

In May 2022, Bommai visited the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland to bring in investments to the state. His main concerns was to attract the investors to the Global Investors meet held in Bangalore during the time of November.[42] Bommai stated that he has inked MOUs with LuLu Group International and ReNew Power companies for Rs 52,000 crores investments over the next seven years.[43][44]

In October 2022, Bommai and former chief minister B S Yediyurappa launched the 'Jan Sankalp Yatra', party's travel across the state starting from the district of Raichur. It was termed to be started to counter the opposition's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' going around in the state.[45]

Challenges as Chief Minister

Bommai's government was accused by various Christian groups for the 2021 anti-Christian violence in Karnataka, following the implementation of his Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act or the anti-conversion law by his government.[46][47][48]

The Archbishop of Bengaluru, Most Rev. Peter Machoda accused the Chief Minister for providing tacit sanction to vigilantes to extend targeted attacks on minorities, particular Christian communities in Karnataka. [49][50]

In February 2022, a controversy over hijabs in educational institutions started in Udupi, followed by various protests in the state. Bommai's Government issued an order stating that the uniforms mandated by the state government, the school managements or college development committees must be worn compulsorily. Further on 15 March, the High Court of Karnataka upheld the government's decision of not allowing any religious symbols and to follow the rules of uniformity, in educational institutions.[51][52]

The Karnataka PSI Scam, which is an entrance exam to fill 545 vacant seats of police sub-inspector post, was conducted in October 2021. Suspicions arose about some candidates allegedly using fraudulent means to score well in the exam. And these malpractices were supported by various higher officials, police officers and recruitment officials who were allegedly bribed with money.[53] This included the allotment of seats, ranks and positions to those students who brought in money. This led to a political storm, and a CID enquiry was instigated. Various political leaders from all parties, IPS and IAS officers and DCs were held in custody with the enquiry subsiding on.[54][55]

A contractor named Santhosh, committed suicide allegedly stating that he was harassed by the cabinet minister K. S. Eshwarappa, to provide him 40% commission of the grants provided for various construction and development projects.[56] This led to various protests across the state by the opposition demanding the resignation of the minister. Bommai received his resignation couple days later, and initiated a CID enquiry into the issue. The opposition branded the cabinet as "40% government".[57] However Eshwarappa was provided a clean chit, at the end of the trial by the investigative agencies.[58]

The state was throbbed with series of killings in coastal Karnataka in July 2022. The Murder of a BJP worker Praveen Nettaru led to fierce protests across the state against the government, and led to resignation of thousands of members from the party.[59] Muslim bodies slammed Bommai for his partial treatment in the serial killing in the district of Dakshina Kannada, as his compensation for the Hindu Victim was different and Muslim Victim was different plus the agencies handling the cases were different. [60][61]

The opposition parties shared and published a scannable 'PayCM' posters, with Bommai's face on it. These posters were stuck on walls of streets and the government was accused of corruptions, commissions and briberies, once the QR codes on the posters were scanned. The BJP called it cheap politics, and cases were filed against members of Congress, for sticking up of posters in public places, which is prohibited in the state.[62][63]

See also

References

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