Karnataka cabinet expansion ruffles many feathers, upsets BJP leaders

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Bengaluru, 14 Jan 2021: Disgruntlement among BJP leaders came to the fore the moment Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday read out the list of seven ministers to be inducted into his 17-month old cabinet.


Several BJP legislators expressed serious reservations over three MLCs -- C.P. Yogeshwara, M.T.B. Nagaraj and R. Shankar -- being made ministers, exposing the lack of representation of the coastal and central regions in the cabinet, with most ministers still coming from Bengaluru and Belagavi districts, not consideraing the seniority or sacrifice made by some party leaders.


The decision to induct MLAs Umesh Katti, Arvind Limbavali, Murugesh Rudrappa Nirani and S. Angara, and MLCs C.P. Yogeshwara, M.T.B. Nagaraj and R. Shankar into the state cabinet has given rise to discontent across social media platforms.


From the beginning, the cabinet expansion was seen as a tightrope walk for the Chief Minister, considering that there were too many aspirants, from the party’s old guards to Congress-JD(S) rebels who are now BJP legislators.


"These MLCs have been rejected by the people, whereas we are elected by the people but our seniority and sacrifices have not been taken into consideration while carrying out such an important exercise," said several BJP MLAs, who were aspirants for a cabinet berth.


Another big grouse is that with the induction of Limbavali, Yediyurappa’s cabinet will now have eight ministers representing Bengaluru, followed by five from Belgavi with the induction of Katti. The move has again brought to the fore the debate over regional imbalance.


Even six-time BJP legislator from Karkala and party chief whip Sunil Kumar could not hide his discontent, as he tweeted, "Loyalty to the party, development of the constituency and Hindutva are my agendas. I don’t know any other path. I don’t understand glorifying caste politics nor have I blackmailed for any post, nor will I do so in future."


While expressing discontent, senior BJP MLA from the Krishnaraja constituency, S.A. Ramadass, said he has been serving the party for 28 years now. "Injustice has happened to the old Mysuru region. Any other party MLA from Mysuru could have been made the minister."


M. Satish Reddy, long time BJP MLA representing Bommanahalli, asked what yardstick Yediyurappa had adopted while selecting the ministers and said the absence of late Union Minister Ananth Kumar, who had an ear for their woes, is being felt very badly.


Continuing his tirade against the ruling dispensation, Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who has been critical of Yediyurappa, accused the Chief Minister of making appointments under blackmail, without considering seniority or honesty. He refused to name anyone though.


Making a similar reference to blackmail, ministerial aspirant and MLC A.H. Vishwanth, who was among the 17 MLAs from the Congress-JD(S) coalition who had defected in 2019 and switched over to the BJP, hit out at Yediyurappa for not keeping his word.


Expressing displeasure over Excise Minister H. Nagesh being dropped and Rajarajeshwari Nagar MLA Munirathna Naidu not getting inducted, Vishwanth said, "It is because of their sacrifice that you are the CM today. Instead, you are making Yogeshwara a minister, someone who has fraud and cheating cases against him. Why are you making him a minister? Is he blackmailing you?"


Honnali MLA and Chief Minister’s political secretary M.P. Renukacharya, another ministerial aspirant, also expressed his displeasure, stating that the government has been limited to two districts and the CM and the party leaders must look into the matter.


"Injustice has happened to central and coastal Karnataka regions. It (the cabinet) is limited to Bengaluru and Belagavi. I am upset, but to whom should I tell this," he told reporters, adding that he has never lobbied for a ministerial post as he can’t set aside his self-respect.


Considered a Yediyurappa loyalist, Renukacharya, who met Arun Kumar, party General Secretary in-charge of the state, on his arrival at the airport on Wednesday, also expressed reservations over the presence of five MLCs in the cabinet. "We have been elected by the people (as MLAs), but what’s the use," he told reporters.


Six-time MLA G.H. Thippareddy, who represents the Chitradurga constituency and has been sulking for some time now, said that he feels ’let down’ after being in politics for five decades and being a legislator for 30 years, as he did not get an opportunity to serve the people as minister.



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