Bangalore : The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first government in the south was ushered in Monday amid widespread celebration by thousands of party cadres who burst firecrackers and danced in the streets to drumbeats and trumpet-blaring.
The nation’s IT hub turned saffron for the oath-taking ceremony of B.S. Yeddyurappa as the first chief minister of a BJP-led government not just in Karnataka but in all of south India.
While top BJP leaders like president Rajnath Singh and L.K. Advani were at hand in the Vidhana Souda to watch Governor Rameshwar Thakur administer the oath of office to Yeddyurappa, thousands of the party’s cadres and supporters of descended on this city and the city was awash with saffron, the colour of Hindu nationalists.
They came here from across the state, especially Shimoga, the home district of Yeddyurappa, in buses, trucks, maxi-cabs and vans for the function. Yeddyurappa took oath in Kannada in the name of god and millions of farmers in the state.
Though the oath-taking ceremony was originally scheduled at 12.10 p.m., it was advanced by 10 minutes, as noon was considered most auspicious by the BJP leaders who were acting on the advice of astrologers.
Alliance partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) decided against its deputy chief minister or any other minister taking oath, but former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and other former ministers attended the function.
After Yeddyurappa, BJP’s Govind Karjol, V.S. Acharya, Jagdish Shettar and R. Ashok were sworn in as ministers.
Besides Rajnath Singh and Advani, other leaders who had flown down for the occasion included vice presidents Yashwant Sinha and M. Venkaiah Naidu as well as Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Several pontiffs and religious heads of the Lingayat community to which Yeddyurappa belongs also watched the proceedings.
The colourful oath-taking ceremony was marked by jubilation — a blast of fire crackers, drumbeats, blowing of trumpets and folk dances by a dozens of troupes and artistes.
Party slogans such as “Bharat mata ki jai”, “BJP zindabad” and “Yeddyurappa zindabad” rent the air, while loudspeakers mounted on buses, trees and nearby buildings blared Kannada songs.
Huge cardboard cut-outs of Yeddyurappa, Advani, Rajnath Singh and Naidu, BJP banners, posters, buntings and thousands of flags, sporting the party’s saffron colour and lotus symbol, were put up around the secretariat and on both sides of the roads leading to Vidhana Veedhi (secretariat street) in the heart of the city.
Police had a tough time regulating the frenzied crowds, who had begun gathering at the venue since morning and jostled for a glimpse of the grand ceremony.
The entire area surrounding the secretariat buildings, the state high court and the famous Cubbon Park was cordoned off for vehicular movement, leading to traffic snarls and jamming of main thoroughfares.
Soon after the swearing-in and playing of the national anthem, Yeddyurappa walked up to the VIP enclosure to greet Kumaraswamy and other JD-S leaders. He also met pontiffs and religious heads and exchanged pleasantries with party’s national leaders.
The state Congress unit staged a sit-in demonstration at the Mahatma Gandhi statue near Cubbon Park to protest the formation of an “unholy and opportunistic” BJP-led government in the state.