The Karnataka government on Thursday allocated portfolios to the seven ministers who were inducted into the Cabinet last week, reported PTI. Some ministers were also reshuffled and assigned different portfolios.
The move has left a section of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s Cabinet colleagues miffed. MT B Nagaraj was among those who openly voiced his discontent. He said he does not want the excise portfolio allotted to him. Nagaraj was the housing minister in the previous Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government. “I resigned from the post and came out,” he added. “I’m now given the excise portfolio. What is there to do in the excise department?”
Senior minister JC Madhuswamy, who has been divested of three key departments, skipped an event of the chief minister in Tumakuru. Madhuswamy has been relieved of Law, Parliamentary Affairs, Legislation and Minor Irrigation portfolios and allocated Medical Education, Kannada and Culture departments. Ministers Nagaraj, K Gopalaiah, KC Narayana Gowda – all of who were with either the Congress or the Janata Dal (Secular) before switching over to the BJP – said they will call on the chief minister to discuss the portfolios allocated to them.
Gopalaiah, who has been divested of the food, civil supplies and consumers affairs department and made in charge of horticulture and sugar, said he will meet the chief minister. “I had planned several things in the department...everyone knows how I have been performing,” he said. “This has happened to four or five of us, we had met at [Health Minister] Sudhakar’s residence. We will sit with the chief minister and ask what is our fault.”
The chief minister, however, normalised the displeasure and claimed that there was no resentment. “I have called them [upset ministers] and spoken to them, everyone is satisfied,” he told PTI. “I have spoken to everyone personally. “Within the limitations, I have shared the responsibilities, let them work, after some days if they still find issues, let’s consider changing then.”
Revenue Minister R Ashok said he and Home minister Basavaraj Bommai will speak to the ministers and resolve everything soon. “We are all with the chief minister and everyone has trust in him,” he told reporters.
On January 13, 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.
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 collapsed last year.