The year was 1996 and an iconic leader made an even more iconic speech before tendering his resignation ahead of a crucial floor-test in Lok Sabha. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to resign 13 days after being sworn-in as PM of the country. On Saturday, echoes of the same speech were heard when BS Yeddyurappa announced his resignation just two days after taking oath as CM of Karnataka.
In 1996 the scenario was similar to what happened in Karnataka for the better part of this week. Congress - under PV Narasimha Rao - has bagged 140 seats while BJP had 161. Choosing to give support to the third largest party in Janata Dal, Congress played a masterstroke that led to HD Deve Gowda replacing Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had taken oath as PM just 13 days back - leaving him with no other alternative.
At the time, Vajpayee said:
* The seats we won are not by a stroke of luck. We reached out to the people and worked hard to spread our message. And today we are suddenly being judged because we couldn't get just a few more seats? Ok, I agree that was a little bit of our own weakness.
* President gave us the oppurutnity (to form government) and we took that opportunity. We could not succeed but that is a different matter. But we will still sit here as the largest opposition party and you will have to take our support to make this House work. Don't ever forget that. And I assure you will support you in running the House properly.
* We assure you that while you want power, we want to work for this country and we will never sit and rest in this endeavour. I am going to the President to tender my resignation.
Yeddyurappa too echoed similar sentiments when he made his speech in Karnataka assembly:
* I want to thank people of Karnataka for making BJP the single-largest party. If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise.
* Whether I stay in power or not, I will continue to work for the people. And we will get 28 out of 28 seats in Lok Sabha.
* For now, I will go to Raj Bhawan and tender my resignation.
Yeddyurappa has tendered his resignation to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and Congress-JDS combine now will form government in the state.