Bengaluru: Signs of rebellion within the BJP have emerged barely hours after the distribution of cabinet berths in Karnataka, with Vokkaliga leader and Chikmagalur MLA CT Ravi posting a series of tweets late on Monday indicative of dissent in the party ranks.
The BS Yediyurappa-led government has appointed three deputy chief ministers among the 17 ministers inducted, with the choice of the leaders leaving ruffling feathers in the senior leadership.
Leaders like KS Eshwarappa and R Ashok, who served as deputy chief ministers in earlier BJP-led governments, were not accommodated this time around. Eshwarappa has been given Rural Development and Panchayati Raj portfolio, whereas R Ashok will serve as Revenue minister.
Supporters and followers of Eshwarappa from the Sangolli Rayanna Brigade have already issued a warning, saying side-lining the minister was an “insult”. They threatened to “hit back” at the party if Eshwarappa isn't given the deputy chief minister's post in the coming days.
The appointment of Ashwath Narayan as deputy CM over CT Ravi might not go down well with some sections of the party either.
Ravi, a four-time MLA, told CNN-News18 on Monday that he had never demanded any portfolio. He has been allocated the Tourism ministry with additional charge of Kannada and Culture. "I have never demanded any ministry and would rather stick to party roles. I will make my stand public on Tuesday after the new (state BJP) president is sworn in," he added.
However, in late-night tweets, Ravi said he was as much loyal to his “principle” as to the BJP.
“Neither am I a Dissident nor a Rebel. My Loyalty is only for BJP. But I am a Proud Individual loyal to my Principle. If my Pride is hurt, the Fighter in me comes to the fore. What can I do? I am a Fighter who has grown up from the Ranks with the blessings of People,” he said.
Power and Post cannot come in between Principles & Loyalty to my Party. Whether alive or dead, I will always be part of BJP.If I have to compromise between Power and Post at the cost of my Loyalty to BJP, that will be the last day of my life.— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) August 26, 2019
From a Booth Committee President in 1988 until now, BJP has given me numerous Posts.Nobody in my Family was even a Gram Panchayath member. BJP made me MLA of Chikkamagaluru four times.— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) August 26, 2019
I never sought to be a Minister in the first place before anyone. Where will I seek Ministry?— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) August 26, 2019
Neither am I a Dissident nor a Rebel. My Loyalty is only for BJP. But I am a Proud Individual loyal to my Principle.If my Pride is hurt, the Fighter in me comes to the fore. What can I do? I am a Fighter who has grown up from the Ranks with the blessings of People.— C T Ravi 🇮🇳 ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) August 26, 2019
And it's not just BJP leaders who are dissatisfied. The elevation of Lakshman Savadi, who lost the Assembly election to Mahesh Kumnatahalli from Athani constituency, has set tongues wagging among the disqualified MLAs who are unsure of their fate in the BJP government. With by-elections imminent, it will be a tough task for the party to make a choice among the two for the ticket. If Savadi is given the ticket, since he has to be made an elected representative, the disqualified MLAs are likely to feel short-changed.
Meanwhile, a social media campaign has been launched demanding that Molkalmuru MLA B Sriramalu, a prominent Dalit face in the party, be made deputy chief minister. Sriramalu has been given the Health and Family Welfare portfolio.
Govind Karjole, one of the three deputy CMs, will also hold charge of the coveted PWD ministry along with the Social Welfare Department.
JC Madhuswamy has been appointed as Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister with additional charge as Water Resource minister. It is believed that Mudhuswamy’s defence for the BJP on the floor of the House against accusation of horse-trading is being rewarded by the party with these portfolios.
Other important portfolio distributions in the Karnataka government include Jagdish Shettar, who will be in-charge of Large and Small Scale industries, and Basavaraj Bommai, who will be the new Home minister of Karnataka.