Amid infighting within the Bharatiya Janata Party over the expansion of Karnataka Cabinet, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday challenged the disgruntled leaders to directly take up their grievances with the national leadership of the party, reported PTI. At the same time, the chief minister implored them not to damage the party’s reputation “by talking ill”.

On Wednesday, seven new ministers took the oath of office in Karnataka as the administration expanded its 17-month-old Cabinet. The inductions became a point of contention among state BJP leaders, who alleged the appointments were made “without considering seniority or honesty”. Some even accused the chief minister of including only those who had either “blackmailed” him, or were his closest confidantes.

In the face of public rebuke, Yediyurappa declared that he would leave it to the central BJP leadership to take a call on the matter. The chief minister added that the party’s high command in Delhi was “aware of the facts”.

“If the BJP MLAs have any objection they can go to Delhi, meet our national leaders and give them all the information and complaints they have,” he told reporters. “ I won’t object to that, but I ask them not to damage the party’s reputation by talking ill.”

The BJP leaders who were inducted on Wednesday are Umesh Katti, Arvind Limbavali, MTB Nagaraj, Murugesh Nirani, R Shankar, CP Yogeshwar and S Angara. This was the third time that the Yediyurappa-led Cabinet was expanded. The chief minister assumed office on July 2019 after the previous Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government collapsed. The newly sworn-in ministers were a combination of turncoats from the previous regime.

At least three of them – Katti, Arvind Limbavali and Murugesh Nirani – are seen as Yediyurappa loyalists. Nagaraj and Yogeshwar are defectors from the Congress, while R Shankar was an Independent who was made a minister in the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government just before it fell last year.

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Karnataka: Seven ministers sworn into Cabinet amid displeasure with inductions among BJP leaders