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Prime Minister Modi’s party’s only South Indian chief minister resigns

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BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s chief minister of Karnataka, the only state led by Prime Minister Narendra Modis’s party in the prosperous south of the country, resigned on Monday in the latest political upheaval within the Hindu nationalist group.

FILE PHOTO: Leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party BS Yeddyurappa flashes victory sign after being sworn in as chief minister of southern Karnataka state , inside the governor’s house in Bengaluru, India on May 17, 2018. REUTERS / Abhishek N. Chinnappa / File Photo

BS Yediyurappa, the quadruple chief minister of the state, seat of India’s technological capital in Bengaluru, had helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form its first government in the southern region of India in 2008.

The party has failed to make inroads into other southern states despite the country’s leadership since 2014. Aside from Yediyurappas’ resignation, Modi recently removed many high-ranking ministers from his cabinet as he he was trying to reinvigorate his administration shaken by a huge second wave of coronavirus infections.

Yediyurappa, 78, resigned because he was older than the age limit of 75 for ministerial posts, BJP spokeswoman Malavika Avinash said.

I was not under any pressure from the top party leaders. I voluntarily submit my resignation, Yediyurappa said in a moving speech broadcast live on local TV channels.

Bengaluru is home to the offices of large multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs.

Analysts said the BJP will need to act quickly to name a successor or risk being foiled by the opposition.

If the BJP fails to come up with a name early enough, it would give the opposition a chance to get started, said Narendar Pani, dean of the School of Social Sciences at the National Institute for Advanced Studies in Bengaluru.

The challenge for the BJP will be to find a successor who will have the same force of attraction and who can federate different groups.

The BJP changed the chief minister of the northern Uttarakhand state twice this year, months before local elections. Karnataka’s elections are not scheduled until 2023.

Writing of Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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