Seven ministers skip govt show


No less than seven senior ministers absented themselves from Sunday’s inauguration of the ‘Vikas Sankalp Utsav’, organised to showcase the B S Yeddyurappa government’s achievements in the last one year, giving room for various interpretations.

Much to the embarrassment and discomfiture of the chief minister, seven Cabinet ministers, including three ‘powerful’ ministers from Bellary — Janaradhana Reddy, Karunakara Reddy and Sreeramulu — and senior minister K S Eshwarappa, chose not to attend the mega event. Three other Cabinet ministers who remained absent were Anand Asnotikar, Balachandra Jharkiholi and Shivanagouda Nayak. All three are said to be close to the Reddys.

Another senior leader and deputy chairman of the State Planning Board D H Shankaramurthy was also not present. He was in Harihar attending a family function. He said he had no role to play at the Utsav as it was limited to Bangalore division. Similar programmes will be held in three more revenue divisions, he pointed out.

Both the Reddy brothers were in Bangalore till Saturday and left for their home district the same evening. Eshwarappa was in Shimoga conducting a mass marriage programme on the occasion of his birthday. He told reporters he had informed State party president in advance that he would not be present for the Sunday event.

The Reddys and Sreeramulu remained incommunicado. But sources in the Reddys’ camp said the invites did not carry the names of the Reddys or Sreeramulu. Further, the leaders were not personally invited by the chief minister.

An Officer on Special Duty attached to Yeddyurappa’s office had sent a letter to all the ministers. Hence, the mining barons decided to stay away, it is said.

In addition, the Reddy brothers are said to be upset with Yeddyurappa’s ‘one-upmanship’. According to sources close to the Reddys, the CM was giving “undue” prominence to Lingayat leaders. Besides, they are peeved at Yeddyurappa for not allowing general transfers in various departments.

On his part, Eshwarappa has been silently protesting the interference of Yeddyurappa’s family members, especially his son B Y Vijayendra, in running the government. 

He had also opposed Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra contesting the recent Lok Sabha elections from Shimoga. However, the presence at the Vikas Sankalp Utsav of senior leader Ananth Kumar and his extolling Yeddyurappa on completing one year in office was a saving grace for the CM. Even V Somanna, the new addition to the BJP, was seen occpuying a chair in the front row. A good number of officials, including Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao, were present on the dais.

Though the Government had made elaborate arrangements to bring in a festive mood to ‘utsav’ at the sprawling National College grounds, the uneasiness among the ministers over the absence of some of their colleagues was palpable. While highlighting the government’s wlefare programmes, the chief minister took pains to explain why he had to conduct operation ‘Kamala’. “If the party had won 120 MLAs, the question of Operation Kamala would not have arisen. Now we are 115 and five independents have stood by us,” he stated.

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