Express News Service
BENGALURU: Three days after they were sworn into the BS Yediyurappa Cabinet, the 10 new ministers were allotted portfolios on Monday. Chief Minister Yediyurappa seems to have carefully distributed the ministries, not just to avoid disgruntlement within the cabinet, but also to keep hopes of other aspirants alive by retaining a few key portfolios.
The biggest takeaways from Monday’s portfolio allocation were Yediyurappa’s decision to continue keeping the sought-after Bengaluru Development ministry with him, Ramesh Jarkiholi being given the big-ticket Water Resources ministry and Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi losing Agriculture, a portfolio that he held additionally, to Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai. The attempt at balancing the portfolio allocation, however, still managed to anger a newly-inducted minister who is now contemplating approaching the BJP central leadership.
After many rounds of talks, Ramesh Jarkiholi got his wish to hold the portfolio that was previously held by Congress’D K Shivakumar.
Party sources said the ministry was promised to Jarkiholi even before he joined the BJP.Fully aware of the implications that would follow the allocation of the coveted Bengaluru Development ministry to any of the ministers from the city barely months before the BBMP elections, Yediyurappa chose to retain it with himself. With six more berths to be filled, Yediyurappa has the daunting task of keeping party loyalists hopeful and has retained high-profile portfolios like Energy and Finance too with him. To stall dissent, the CM has also conveyed his plans of dropping a few ministers soon to accommodate more aspirants.
In a bid to pacify Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, Yediyurappa appointed him chairman of Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL). While the legislator, a close aide of Ramesh Jarkiholi, is miffed over being the only turncoat not to have made it to the cabinet despite winning his seat, unlike A H Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj, Yediyurappa is hopeful that the appointment will help quell disgruntlement.
While there is no rejig of any incumbent minister’s core portfolio, ministries that were being held as additional charge have been distributed to the new entrants. With the State Budget barely weeks away, the new ministers have their tasks cut out.
“I am 200% happy with my portfolio. I will hold meetings with officials at the earliest and chart out my next course of action. I will also take help from Suresh Kumar who had been holding the portfolio previously. There’s nothing wrong in taking his advice and guidance, he is a senior minister,” said Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar when asked about his preparedness for the budget, given the time constraints.
Despite Yediyurappa’s attempts to please all, rumblings have already begun within the cabinet with one new minister hoping to approach the BJP top brass with his complaint. Chikkaballapur MLA Dr K Sudhakar is said to be unhappy with his Medical Education portfolio. Sources close to the minister said he is contemplating approaching the BJP central leadership over Yediyurappa not ‘honouring his commitment’.
“Among all those who switched to the BJP, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Sudhakar were the only ones who were assured of specific ministries. Ramesh was promised Water Resources and Sudhakar was promised Energy. The commitment made to Sudhakar has not been kept,” said the source.
Speaking to TNIE, Sudhakar said the portfolio had been given to him considering his educational qualifications. “We can’t choose — whether to become a minister or pick a portfolio. That is the prerogative of the CM. This wasn’t the portfolio I had anticipated but the CM seems to have seen only my educational qualification. Let us see,” Sudhakar said.
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