With a new spelling, Yediyurappa takes oath for fourth time
BENGALURU: Bhookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa, the 76-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president, was sworn in on Friday as the Karnataka chief minister for a record fourth time, following a power tussle and an unexpected twist.

Even before being sworn in, the Lingayat strongman had changed the spelling of his surname, swapping a ‘d’ for an ‘i’ to make it Yediyurappa, apparently to ward off any bad omen associated with the unlucky ashada month.

The hope apparently is that the change in spelling would allow him to occupy the post for a longer period than what he has managed so far— he has not been able to complete a full term in office in his previous three terms.

The move is set to be tested on Monday, when he has to prove his majority in the assembly.

The swearing-in comes three days after the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition lost a confidence motion, forcing the 14-month-old government to make way for the BJP, which had emerged as the largest single party in last year’s assembly elections.

The decision by the BJP to approach the Karnataka governor came a day after assembly speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar disqualified three Congress legislators—Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathalli and R. Shankar—under the anti-defection law. The speaker is yet to decide on the fate of at least 14 other rebel MLAs—one of the reasons that had forced the BJP to restrain itself from forming the government.

Hailed for his tenacity, Yediyurappa, said analysts , could have remained in power for longer had he not rushed to occupy the chair last year. He was forced to resign after just two days as chief minister in May 2018.

In 2007, he had to step down barely seven days after the BJP’s then ally, JD(S), withdrew support.

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