US embassy cable - 06CHENNAI295

NEW KARNATAKA DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER B.S.YEDIYURAPPA

Identifier: 06CHENNAI295
Wikileaks: View 06CHENNAI295 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Chennai
Created: 2006-02-14 11:30:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PINR IN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO6324
RR RUEHBI RUEHCI
DE RUEHCG #0295/01 0451130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141130Z FEB 06
FM AMCONSUL CHENNAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7422
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1470
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 4694
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA 0447
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHENNAI 000295 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR INR/B AND SCA/INS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, IN 
SUBJECT: NEW KARNATAKA DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER 
B.S.YEDIYURAPPA 
 
REF: (A) CHENNAI 00212, (B) CHENNAI 0163 
 
1. (SBU) SUMARY: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister 
Bukanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa (age 63), leader of 
the Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Karnataka 
legislature, took his oath of office on February 3, 2006. 
A member of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak 
Sangh (RSS), he has headed the Karnataka unit of the BJP 
for nine years, a period which saw the party rise from 
insignificance to a position as the single largest party 
in the state legislature.  Known to be ideologically 
flexible, he was instrumental in forming the alliance 
with Janata Dal (Secular) that enabled him to take 
office.  Lack of experience in government, however, could 
hamper the effectiveness and reduce the longevity of his 
government.  This message provides biographic information 
on Yediyurappa.  Reftel A transmitted information on new 
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy.  END SUMMARY 
 
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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN MEETING YEDIYURIAPPA 
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2. (SBU) Bukanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa's English 
ability is limited.  He usually dresses casually in home 
spun white Khadi, or opts for a safari suit for more 
formal occasions.  He is known to become upset when 
issues such as the alleged persecution of minorities by 
the BJP are brought up in discussion.  When meeting with 
westerners, he tends to be very reticent initially but 
opens up when he becomes more comfortable.  He is a 
member of the dominant Lingayat caste and is a strict 
vegetarian.  Like many other Indians, he often consults 
with astrologers before making important decisions. 
Yediyurappa holds a bachelors of arts degree. 
 
----------------------------- 
A WIDOWER WITH GROWN CHILDREN 
------------------------------ 
 
3. (SBU) A widower, Yediyurappa lost his wife Mythradevi 
in October 2004 after she slipped and fell into a water 
tank at her family home.  He has two sons and three 
daughters.  His son Vijendra, a one time secretary of 
BJP's youth wing, manages a pipe unit and a group of 
educational institutions in Shikaripur.  His other son 
oversees the family farm which is reportedly a few 
hundred acres in an area where holding sizes are 
typically less than five acres. 
 
 
---------------------------------- 
OVERSAW GROWTH OF BJP IN KARNATAKA 
---------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Yediyurappa emerged on the Karnataka political 
scene in 1983 when he was elected as a member of the 
state assembly from his home town of Shikaripur in 
Shimonga district, where he had been the President of the 
local municipality.  He held the state assembly seat for 
five consecutive terms until 1999, when he was defeated. 
In addition to his position in the legislative assembly, 
he was President of the BJP in Karnataka from 1989 to 
1999, a period of rapid growth for the party.  The BJP in 
Karnataka progressed from two seats in 1986 to seventy- 
nine seats in 2004, making it the single largest party in 
the state.  His approach to expansion of his party's 
electoral base was to run communally divisive campaigns 
that helped polarize the Karnataka electorate and expand 
the BJP profile in the state.  For example, he headed an 
agitation that sought to limit participation of Muslims 
in commemoration ceremonies associated with a Sufi saint 
at Babudangiri.  He also led the unsuccessful campaign 
that sought to ban U.S evangelist Benny Hinn from 
conducting a gospel show in Bangalore in January 2005. 
 
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IDEOLOGICAL FLEXIBILITY TAKES HIM TO OFFICE 
------------------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Publicly espousing the Hindutva cause did not 
prevent Yediyurappa from opening a dialogue with Janata 
Dal (Secular), which previously had described his party 
as communal.  Working in tandem with now Chief Minister 
and JD(S) working president H.D. Kumaraswamy, he 
successfully conducted a coup that permitted the two to 
 
CHENNAI 00000295  002 OF 002 
 
 
take office (Reftl B).  Under the agreement struck 
between JD(S) ad BJP, Kumarasway will serve as Chief 
Minister or 20 months and Yediyurappa will fill the 
government's remaining 20 months as Chief Minister. 
Yediyurappa detractors within the BJP, especially Ananth 
Kumar, a former minister for civil aviation and a party 
ideologue, criticized the partnership with JD(S) before 
the national leadership gave its approval.  Competition 
between Yediyurappa and Ananth Kumar has divided the BJP 
in the state and is said to be a major hurdle to the 
party's continued growth.  Yediyurappa firmly believes 
that had the BJP projected him as the next Chief Minister 
in the 2004, the Lingayat caste voters would have voted 
as a block for the party, giving it a majority on its 
own. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN GOVERNMENT HIS WEAK POINT 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
6. COMMENT: Yediyurappa has been in politics for over 
three decades, but almost all of that time he has been in 
the opposition and so he has no real administrative 
experience beyond party matters.  Captains of the 
information technology industry regard this as a serious 
weakness because Bangalore sorely needs strong leadership 
to address its many infrastructure problems.  Detractors 
within and outside the party expect him to stumble while 
dealing with the state's bureaucracy.  Managing 
expectations of his party members while ensuring good 
governance will sorely test his abilities, which remain 
unknown for now. END COMMENT 
 
HOPPER 

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