BJP factions continue to spar over ministry formation

BSY and Shettar camps divided over plum portfolios, post of DyCM

BJP factions continue to spar over ministry formation

The process of formation of the State Cabinet remained deadlocked on Sunday as the two factions of the BJP — one led by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and the other by Jagadish Shettar — refused to budge on the issues of sharing key portfolios and creation of the post of deputy chief minister.

Efforts by BJP Karnataka in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan, who rushed to Bangalore from Delhi on Sunday evening, to iron out differences between the two factions, failed to achieve any result.

Pradhan held a meeting of senior leaders of both the factions at Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda’s official residence, Anugraha, late on Sunday evening. State Party President K S Eshwarappa, R Ashoka (representing the Shettar camp), V S Acharya (representing the Yeddyurappa camp), BJP organising secretary Sateesh and RSS leader Santosh were present at the meeting which ended in a stalemate without taking any decision on any of the contentious issues.

As the two warring factions continue to squabble, the cabinet formation is likely to be delayed further. The leaders wil hold another round of talks on Monday. The Chief Minister, sources said, had a plan to go in for cabinet formation in a phased manner if both factions fail to resolve the issues.

He wanted to induct about 20 MLAs, 10 each from both factions, into his cabinet either on Monday or Wednesday, and allocate portfolios later. By doing so, he wanted to deflect criticism of the opposition parties for not being able to form his ministry. But the Shettar camp is learnt to have opposed his plan and demanded that the ministry should be formed only after resolving all issues, sources said.

According to sources, Pradhan informed the meeting that the party does not favour creation of deputy chief minister’s post, which the Shettar camp has been demanding. The Yeddyurappa faction too vehemently opposed the demand. Then, Eshwarappa and Ashoka are learnt to have told the meeting that they will get back after discussing the issue with Shettar.

The Shettar camp has been demanding creation of two posts of deputy chief minister, besides demanding plum portfolios like Finance, PWD, Revenue, Water Resources and Power. If Pradhan fails to resolve the issue, the State leaders may seek the intervention of the party national leaders in this regard, sources said.

With the party high command directing both the camps to bury the hatchet and pave the way for ministry formation at the earliest, leaders on both sides agreed to sit across the table to sort all issues on Saturday. But when it came to creation of deputy chief minister’s post and sharing portfolios, they failed to arrive at a consensus.

Sadananda Gowda, who has been under pressure to form his ministry at the earliest, is understood to have agreed to share ministerial berths on 17:17 ratio. There are 33 berths remaining to be filled, after the swearing-in of the chief minister. Gowda took oath as the CM on August 3.

Earlier in the day, Eshwarappa, however, told reporters that except for creation of deputy chief minister’s post, all issues have been sorted out. The party central leaders will take the decision on the issue of deputy CMs. New ministers will be sworn in either on Monday and Wednesday.

Gowda held several rounds of talks with the party leaders through the day. Leaders Basavanaraj Bommai, C M Udasi and Renukacharya of the Yeddyurappa faction met Gowda. It is also learnt that large number of MLAs, including those who were ministers in the Yeddyurappa Cabinet, are lobbying to becoming ministers.

Meanwhile, KPCC President G Parameshwara warned that his party will petition Governor H R Bhardwaj to take appropriate action against the BJP government if it fails to form the ministry in two days.

“We will wait for two more days. If the two warning factions in the BJP continue to fight, then we will urge the Governor to intervene and take action.

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