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BS Yediyurappa to Meet BJP Top Leadership on Portfolio Allocation to New Ministers

Though the Karnataka cabinet expansion brought an end to the nearly month-long wait, it led to some heartburn in a section of the party as several MLAs continued to make no secret of their displeasure after missing the bus.

PTI

Updated:August 22, 2019, 10:42 PM IST
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BS Yediyurappa to Meet BJP Top Leadership on Portfolio Allocation to New Ministers
File photo. BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa with his party MLAs show victory sign after HD Kumaraswamy lost the vote of confidence at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru. (Image: PTI)
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Bengaluru: Having a tightrope to walk by pacifying disgruntled MLAs who missed out on cabinet berth, coupled with allocation of portfolios to new ministers, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday decided to consult BJP central leadership to deal with the situation.

Some disqualified former legislators of the Congress and JDS who helped bring down the coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy reportedly are piling pressure on Yediyurappa, seeking their pound of flesh and plum portfolios.

"Today evening I will go to Delhi and meet our national President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will come back tomorrow evening or the day after morning," Yediyurappa said.

Asked whether the allocation of portfolios would take place after his return from Delhi, Yediyurappa said: "Today we will discuss and take a decision."

More than three weeks after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister, Yediyurappa expanded his cabinet last Tuesday, inducting 17 Ministers.

Though the expansion brought an end to the nearly month-long wait for the cabinet to take shape, it led to some heartburn in a section of the party as several MLAs continued to make no secret of their displeasure after missing the bus.

With several MLAs openly expressing displeasure over being left out, Yediyurappa has been making attempts to douse the embers, by reaching out to them.

The Chief Minister on Thursday too tried to pacify miffed legislators including Sullia MLA Angara S, even as the Bunt community threatened protest citing lack of representation in the ministry, and Bovi community members staged protest in front of his residence seeking induction of a minister from their community.

Even as attempts are on to pacify sulking MLAs, a phone conversation between eight-time Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti, around whom several disgruntled MLAs are reportedly rallying, with Congress legislator party leader Siddaramaiah led to speculation about the former's next political move.

Speaking to a news channel Katti confirmed his talk with Siddarmaiah last night, but ruled out joining the Congress and clarified that he was with BJP.

"He (Siddaramaiah) called me last night and addressed me as a minister, I told him I'm not minister to which he said he was aware of it and hence called.

He is my good friend...I may meet whenever we are both are in Bengaluru. But, I'm not joining Congress leaving BJP, I'm 100 per cent in BJP," he added.

Yediyurappa has kept 16 ministerial posts vacant to accommodate some more BJP members and from among those 17 disqualified former legislators who helped him come to power.

However, the disqualified MLAs seeking plum portfolios is said to be causing a delay in the allocation of portfolios for the new ministers, despite rooms being allotted to them at Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat.

Reflecting the situation by stating that this government too was a coalition government in a way, Minister V Somanan in response to a question about S A Ramdas not being made minister, in Mysuru said, "Now 17 of us have become ministers, still 16 berths are remaining. When filling those 16 positions who all have to be considered that our state and national leaders will decide," he added.

Meanwhile, several disqualified MLAs, including Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumatahalli, S T Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj, AH Vishwanath are in Delhi amid reports that they had expressed keenness to meet BJP's central leadership on their political future.

Speculation that they may make attempts to meet some top BJP leaders gained momentum with BJP leader C P Yogeshwar accompanying them to Delhi.

Stating that they are in the national capital to meet lawyers who are representing them in the Supreme Court, where their plea challenging disqualification was pending, Vishwanath, a disqualified MLA, indicated that they will also try to meet Amit Shah.

"Amit Shah is not in town, once he is back we will seek appointment and try and talk to him on several issues concerning the state including flood situation, getting aid for the state among other things," he told reporters in Delhi in response to a question.

The then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.

On getting relief from the apex court some of them would be inducted into the cabinet as per the arrangement agreed upon, BJP sources said, pointing out that Yediyurappa has kept 16 berths still vacant.

According to reports, the disqualified former MLAs are seeking a meeting with Shah to get assurance about their political future, and are also likely to meet Yediyurappa who will also be in Delhi.

Pointing out that BJP government came to power in Karnataka as 17 MLAs came out of the Congress-JD(S) government, Minister K S Eshwarappa said: "as we don't have a complete majority, we have got their cooperation to form the government.'

"So it is our duty to give them suitable positions. At no cost we will betray them," he told reporters in Vijayapura.

Meanwhile taking a dig at disqualified Congress legislators, Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao said Yediyurappa should make at least one of the Deputy Chief Minister for their "sacrifice."

"Let them be satisfied soon by giving the Deputy Chief Minister and other key portfolios in the government for their efforts in bringing down the coalition government. They have to get a reward for it.

At least one of them should be made DCM, as Yediyurappa is CM because of them," he said.

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