Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa

BENGALURU: Coincidence or otherwise, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's move to change the spelling of his name seems to be paying him handsome electoral dividends.

It was not Yediyurappa alone, who went in for a change in spelling of his name, several leaders including late AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had done that before.

All set for his fourth innings as the chief minister in July, he had reverted to the earlier English spelling of his name "Yediyurappa" from "Yeddyurappa", apparently influenced by numerology.

After changing the spelling of his name just ahead of his swearing-in, Yediyurappa went on to win the floor test, and now BJP under his leadership has won 12 out 15 seats that went for bypolls on December 5, providing the much needed stability to his government with majority on its side.

"It may have been luck for him electorally in a way or it may be just a coincidence... it depends on how one perceives such things," a BJP functionary said, pointing out things have not been so smooth for Yediyurappa after becoming the Chief Minister.

It has not been a smooth ride for the 76-year old leader, as days after he took charge, most parts of Karnataka witnessed large-scale destruction due to worst-ever floods in the state's recent history.

His government came under intense scrutiny of the opposition, media and public at large for its handling of flood relief and delay in getting central relief despite the BJP being in power at the centre.

With a strong BJP central leadership, at personal level too it was felt that his stature was undermined, as he did not have complete say during formation ofthe Ministry headed by him that saw appointment of three Deputy Chief Ministers and he had to run a single member cabinet for over 20 days before it came into existence, a party source said.

The change in spelling as Yediyurappa had become public on July 26 in his letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala, staking claim to form the government, and later in the official invitation for the swearing-in ceremony as Chief Minister.

Earlier, the Lingayat strongman had changed the spelling of his name from Yediyurappa to Yeddyurappa, days ahead of his first stint of becoming Chief Minister in 2007.

He had to quit barely a week after becoming the CM as the then coalition partner JD(S) reneged on its promise to share power for 20 months each.

However, the name change then, seemed to had failed to bring him any luck as the two subsequent terms as Chief Minister did not last long.

In Tamil Nadu too, there are leaders who had gone in for change in spelling of their names, and had expanded or shortened their names in the process.

"About 20-25 years before her death in 2016, Jayalalithaa added one more letter 'a,' to her name in English and the reason was apparently her belief in spiritualism and numerology," political commentator 'Tarasu' Shyam told PTI.

Also, the MDMK chief, years ago, shortened his name to Vaiko from V Gopalasamy and Congress MP (Tiruchirappalli) Su Thirunavukkarasar was earlier Thirunavukkarasu, he said adding they chose change for their own reasons.

Numerology, which is believed to have been the reason behind the late AIADMK chief adding an extra 'a,' to her name does not, however, always matter.

"Actor Kamal Haasan, now chief of Makakl Needhi Maiam is firmly not a believer, including astrology and numerology," film critic M Bharath Kumar said.

In the flick Raja Parvai (1981), Haasan's name in credits was spelt "Kamala Haasan," in Tamil.

In subseqent movies, including Vikram that released in 1986 the actor's name was pronounced "Kamal Haasan," in Tamil as well and in publicity for several movies he was referred as just "Kamal," Bharath said.

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