Kumathalli on edge after missing Karnataka Cabinet berth.


By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Hours after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced that only 10 out of the 11 newly-elected legislators will be among 13 new ministers being inducted into his cabinet, Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli was visibly upset.

Agitated at the prospects of the much-coveted cabinet berth, Kumathalli  — a close aide of Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi — said he was hurt, but would not disobey the party.

Taking his show of loyalty a notch further, an angry Kumathalli, stammering for words, said he would even sweep the party office if the party wanted him to.

“Many senior leaders of the BJP and MLAs came to me and asked me to join them. I didn’t ask for anything, but they promised me many things. But now things have changed. I have made a lot of sacrifices. I trusted Ramesh Jarkiholi and BS Yediyurappa and came to this party. I am willing to sacrifice today as well, but as a reward for my sacrifice, if they do not want me (as a minister), let them make A H Vishwanath a minister,” said Mahesh, speaking to the media on Sunday.

The disagreement over Kumathalli seems to be the only stumbling block in the cabinet expansion, with Jarkiholi insisting on a berth for the Athani MLA.

“In order of preference, Ramesh Jarkiholi should come first and I should have come second. What is there to reconsider? After everything I have done, if they still want to reconsider me (for cabinet), then I won’t stoop to the level of questioning it. I am hurt, yes, but I joined the party trusting it. I will carry out whatever responsibility the party gives me, even if it is to sweep the floors of BJP headquarters in Bengaluru,” Kumathalli said.

Meanwhile, the CM held talks with Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is miffed over not being made a Deputy Chief Minister, and now, over the possibility of his aide missing out on a cabinet berth.

Apart from his tantrums over the DyCM post and Kumathalli’s ministry, Jarkiholi is also said to be lobbying hard for a plum portfolio.

Over the next two days, Yediyurappa will work towards zeroing-in on portfolios for the to-be-ministers.

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Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

Somanna.