CM Basavaraj Bommai says in the model of development he envisages for the state, people should be partners and not just beneficiaries. In a wide-ranging interview, he dismisses suggestions that he is perceived as an outsider for lack of an RSS background, says his relationship with his predecessor and mentor Yediyurappa, whom he referred to as “my leader”, remains deeply complementary and clarifies that his govt will go ahead with the anti-conversion bill, in effect in many states.
It has been a long journey for you, from a job at Tata Motors to Karnataka CM. Did your selection as chief minister in July come as a surprise?
I never had any aspirations for power. I never aspired to become a minister. Even my name for the chief minister’s post was not there till the last minute. After much deliberation and considerations on the political situation prevailing at the time, the central leadership of the party decided on my name on the last day. Perhaps, our Delhi leadership presumed that I was the best possible choice to succeed such a tall leader in the party like Yediyurappa, who had voluntarily resigned. I was the consensus choice to take everyone along within the party, including the senior leaders.
You were picked by the BJP leadership for the top job in the state despite not having an RSS background. Has it been difficult for the seniors in the party to accept the decision?
To call me an outsider is a misnomer. As soon as I joined BJP, I was welcomed and accepted…

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