The gates of Karnataka once welcomed BJP for the first time in 2008 under the leadership of lingayat strongman BS Yeddyurappa. With Karnataka gearing up for elections in two years, BJP trump card, their ‘big strength’ Yeddyurappa (BSY), is back.

Among the many cases, the CBI filed one alleging that the BJP State President of Karnataka received illegal gratification from mining companies through one of his trusts Prerana, managed by his sons and son-in-law. On October 26, an otherwise tensed Yeddyurappa heaved a sigh of relief as the judge’s verdict acquitted him of all charges in this case. A source from the Yeddy camp said that this was one of the last big cases that could have put the lingayat leader in the dock. With this relief, the source said that Yeddyurappa can walk out clean as the remaining cases are way too small.

“Justice has finally prevailed,” said BS Yeddyurappa, with happiness plastered all over his face. “All those charges were politically motivated,” he continued. With the tag of corruption looming large, Yeddyurappa resigned as the CM of Karnataka in 2011 after being strongly indicted in the illegal mining report filed by then Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde.

“But now, he can now safely walk back to the CM’s chair claiming that he is not tainted,” said Hemanth Kumar, political analyst. One must remember that Karnataka is communally polarised. The strength of BJP lies in the support of the lingayats. And lingayats are Karnataka’s largest caste group estimated to form around 17 percent of the population. This community is with BJP only because of BSY. And the ‘blemishless’ BSY can now be projected as the CM candidate. The opportunity of a lotus blooming in this state lies in the hands of Yeddyurappa. No wonder the hands of the Congress are weak now.

The Congress was heavily banking on the taint that they thought would stain BJP’s or BSY’s chances of staging a comeback. The knives are already out against Siddharamaiah with the river row and the steel flyover battle confronting the government. Though Siddhu is the undisputed leader of the Kuruba community, we also have an ambitious KS Eshwarappa of the BJP aiming to be the champion of the Kurubas.

Though Yeddy is now cleared of all charges in the mining scam, there is another alleged factor that led to his downfall during his regime. It’s the resentment within the party to the power wielded by Shobha Karandlaje, another BJP leader. Being a Vokkaliga , Shobha’s presence may earn the wrath of another Vokkaliga leader R Ashok. And Eshwarappa, fighting to be number 2 in the party, is likely to feel threatened too.

“I stand vindicated. Justice is done,” says the twitter timeline of Yeddyurappa. Being the man known for schemes like Bhagyalakshmi and bicycles, it may be interesting to note that in 1983, BSY bicycled through the entire town of Shikaripura in Shimoga, while he stood for elections representing that constituency. His plan now is to tour the entire state to accelerate the prospects of creating history again just as he did in 2008. BJP, BSY will now set out to paint Karnataka saffron.