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Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa put speculation to rest on Monday by announcing his decision to resign. It was at an event to mark two years of his government that a teary-eyed Yediyurappa declared he would meet the state governor to step down, as he did. Nobody, he said, pressured him into it.

This could mean curtains for the political career of the four-time chief minister who at 78 is past the 75-year age limit that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has in place for such posts. He is known for his support base among Lingayats, the wooing of whom had helped the BJP make its debut in southern India as a ruling party. Of late, however, a clamour for his ouster had been growing, especially for his poor handling of the covid pandemic. Public prognostications of his exit had intensified after he met top leaders in Delhi a few days ago. As the BJP had expended much energy on taking charge of Karnataka, with its national- level opposition having joined hands against it, what the party has in mind for the state will be watched closely. Expectations of a new technocratic approach to governance, however, should be tempered with the identity calculus that the party may seek to base its electoral plans on.

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