The decision of Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yeddyurappa to resign as chief minister before a trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday cleared the decks for Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy to be sworn in as the chief minister, backed by an alliance with the Congress. It was a victory for the Congress-JD(S) alliance that had fought a bitter political battle with the BJP for four days following the election results.
The political drama in Bengaluru grabbed the headlines in all major English, Hindi and regional language newspapers on Sunday.
The Indian Express’ lead on the front page read “BJP loses vote of overconfidence”. The paper said that the BJP lost the race to power because it approached Governor Vajubhai Vala too quickly, because the Congress released several audio tapes showing purported bribery and because the Supreme Court reduced the 15-day period Vala had granted to Yeddyurappa to prove majority, to just 24 hours.
The paper also claimed that there would be 13 Janata Dal (Secular) and 15 Congress ministers in the new government.
The Times of India said “Yeddy run out by loyal challengers”. It was a reference to the ongoing Indian Premier League, from which the Royal Challengers Bangalore exited after a defeat on Saturday. It called Congress leader DK Shivakumar “Man of the Match” for maneuvers that helped the Congress keep its MLAs together in the face of BJP pressure.
Hindustan called Yeddyurappa a two-and-a-half day chief minister, perhaps a reference to Congress’ assertion on May 16 that he would be the chief minister for just one day, after the Supreme Court intervened to reduce the time allotted to the BJP leader for the floor test. The paper said the Congress had learned from its past mistakes to evolve a sound strategy in the post-poll scenario in Karnataka.
“Opposition out-BJPs Yeddyurappa”, the Hindustan Times flashed on its front page. “Gone in 55 hours”, the strap read, a reference to the duration Yeddyurappa was chief minister. The paper said the Congress had outmaneuvered the BJP at its own game for the first time since 2014.
“Now, Kumar will be Karnataka’s Swamy”, the Dainik Jagran flashed on its front page in Hindi. The paper chose to focus on the events leading up to the trust vote, and credited the Supreme Court with foiling the BJP’s chances of victory.
Local daily Vijaya Karnataka said that Yeddyurappa had “laid down his weapons” by resigning, and called Kumaraswamy’s ascent to the chief ministership “luck”. The Prajavani headline read “BSY loses, it’s still Kumara’s path”. Both dailies highlighted the fact that Yeddyurappa had been in power for 55 hours.