The Karnataka government will rename Shivamogga Airport after Yediyurappa one year after he objected to the plan ahead of elections.
Karnataka: As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tries to appease the Lingayat strongman ahead of this year’s state elections, the Karnataka government has maintained its decision to name the soon-to-be-opened Shivamogga airport after former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa.
The action suggests a pre-election effort to appease Yediyurappa as the BJP struggles to secure support in the sole southern state it now governs under Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
A proposal to this effect would be given to the Government of India, according to a statement released by Bommai on Wednesday. “The State Cabinet has agreed to designate the Shivamogga Airport as B.S.Yediyurappa Airport,” the statement read.
On February 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to officially open the airport. This would be his seventh trip to Karnataka since the second week of January.
Bommai proposed renaming Shivamogga Airport after Yediyurappa in April of last year, but the former chief minister formally asked that the proposal be abandoned since it would not be “suitable.”
Prior to the election, B.Y. Vijayendra, the younger son of Yediyurappa and the BJP state vice-president, was given new duties as the chairman of the committee in charge of organising conventions in all 224 assembly constituencies. In Shivamogga’s Shikaripura, Vijayendra is set to succeed his father as the party’s candidate. The actions taken to appease the father-son team are likely a part of a plan not to further enrage the senior leader who was compelled to resign as chief minister in July 2021.
Vijayendra was not nominated by the BJP for the MLC elections in May of last year, and Yediyurappa was promoted to the party’s parliamentary board in August. According to rumours, the BJP hierarchy decided against running Vijayendra in the MLC race because they intended to run him in the Karnataka elections and give him a bigger position as a conciliation.
In Karnataka, the BJP has twice constituted the government, in 2008 and 2019, but it has never won a majority by itself. Yediyurappa is a key player for the BJP in this scenario since his full participation has the potential to win over the Lingayats, who had threatened to leave the party after Bommai failed to deliver on his promises to address the reservation-related concerns.