Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa broke down at a two-year celebration of his government today and announced his resignation, ending weeks of speculation raised by unrelenting calls for his removal by a section of the BJP in the state.
"I have decided to resign. I will meet the Governor after lunch," Mr Yediyurappa, 78, declared in a tearful speech at the Vidhan Sabha premises, talking about being tested constantly in the two years of his fourth term - possibly his last, given the BJP's age limit of 75 years for posts. Soon after, he walked to the building next door to hand in his resignation.
He will remain caretaker Chief Minister as his party decides on a replacement; sources say a decision could take two or three days.
"I thank PM (Narendra) Modi, Amit Shah and JP Nadda. They gave me the chance to rule as Chief Minister despite being over 75. I had decided to resign some time back. I thought it best to resign today as we mark completion of two years in this term," he told reporters.
"Nobody pressured me to resign. I did it on my own so that someone else can take over as Chief Minister after the completion of two years of government. I''ll work to bring BJP back in power in the next election. I've not given name of anyone who will succeed me," Mr Yediyurappa added.
Earlier, in his speech, he said: "When (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was Prime Minister he asked me to be a minister at the Centre. But I said I will be in Karnataka."
The BJP had grown in Karnataka, he said, adding: "It has always been an agnipariksha (trial by fire) for me. These last two years it was Covid."