CM to bite the bullet yet again

CM to bite the bullet yet again

Pressures and pulls from different quarters in the party have surfaced whenever he has tried to induct or drop ministers from his Cabinet.

After emerging as the single largest party in the State Assembly, the BJP managed to lure five independent MLAs and induct them into the Cabinet. Four-time BJP MLAs - H S Shankarlinge Gowda and A Narayanaswamy raised voice of dissent for not including them in the Cabinet. Supporters of Narayanaswamy even resorted to violence in Anekal.

The party launched Operation Lotus and inducted three - Balachandra Jarkiholi, Anand Asnotikar and Shivanagouda Naik, who joined the BJP after resigning as MLAs.  The defection operation drew the wrath of old-timers in the party. Despite such resistance, Operation Lotus was continued and even a party loyalist, S K Bellubbi had to resign as minister to accommodate Umesh Katti, a party-hopper.

The axe next claimed S N Krishnaiah Setty. His exit paved way for V Somanna, another defector, to enter the Cabinet. Somanna’s entry was the last straw for the loyalists. Their anger reached its zenith, prompting the Chief Minister to announce an end to the operation.

Differences within the party touched new depths when the Reddy brothers of Bellary  launched a rebellion against Yeddyurappa, demanding his removal. The latter barely saved his chair, sacrificing his close confidante Shobha Karandlaje to appease the Reddys. Jagadish Shettar replaced her.

The latest entry to the Cabinet is of M P Renukacharya. A major section of party leaders and a few ministers opposed his entry to the Cabinet in public. The party, fearing threat to the government, inducted him and pacified the rebels.

Now the Cabinet is set for its seventh expansion, a denouement both the Chief Minister and the party State president are committed to. It is a move that will resolve nothing and perhaps pose more problems than exist within the party. No matter who is included or dropped, the exercise is going to stir up a hornet’s nest, like the last six times.

Aspirants lobby hard

With the Cabinet reshuffle looming large, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and State Party President K S Eshwarappa have come under severe pressure from various party leaders. As soon as they returned to Bangalore on Monday evening after consulting party leaders in Delhi, a large number of ministers, MLAs and senior party workers made a beeline to the Chief Minister’s residence.

Fearing being dropped from the Cabinet, some ministers tried their best to explain to the Chief Minister why they are indispensable to the government and to the Party.  At the other end, MLAs aspiring to become ministers pressured the Chief Minister to include them in the Cabinet held separate meetings on the day.

Ministers including Goolihatti Shekar, Anand Asnotikar, Aravind Limbavali, Mumtaz Ali Khan, Shivanagouda Naik and D Sudhakar tried to justify their presence in the Cabinet.  Those who jostled for inclusion in the Cabinet are included Belur Gopalakrishna, C C Patil, C T Ravi, Jeevaraj, S K Bellubbi and Vimala Gowda.

With the clock ticking away for the Cabinet shuffle, Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy echoed senior party leader H N Ananth Kumar’s view that the party should not be taking up the expansion or reshuffle ahead of the local body elections which are due in a couple of months.

In case the Chief Minsiter goes ahead with reshuffle, he will have to ensure that representation is provided six or seven districts which have no presence in the Cabient at present. But, the Chief Minister may not be able to do that, as the list of inductees will not be his alone.

He will have to accommodate those who are on the wish-list of Eshwarappa, Ananth Kumar and the Sangh Parivar, besides appeasing castes and communities that have stood by the BJP.

Notice to Belur

The BJP state president K S Eshwarappa has issued a showcause notice to MLA Belur Gopalakrishna, for his comments against the party leaders. BJP spokesperson, Prakash said the legislator has been given three days’ time to reply to the notice.

What they say

BJP government came to power because of independent MLAs. I was the first independent MLA to announce my support to the government’s formation in the State. If the CM drops me from the Cabinet, I will commit suicide.

Goolihatti Shekhar,
Minister

The CM should only drop those who have tarnished the party’s image. Such a decision is inevitable to strengthen the party and the government. I want to be handed down with more responsibility.

Anand Asnotikar,
Minister


There is no respect for old timers in the BJP. BJP state president K S Eshwarappa has asked the old-timers to leave the party, while the party is offering red carpet treatment for new entrants. This will not be tolerated. On Tuesday, 20 MLAs including me will be offering our resignations.
Belur Gopalakrishna,
MLA

The question of anybody committing suicide or quitting the party does not arise. We are all united. A few in the party are disappointed over Cabinet expansion. However, we shall set things right.

K S Eshwarappa,
BJP state president


A few people from my community are pressuring on the party to drop me from the Cabinet.

Mumtaz Ali Khan,
Minister


I am hopeful that the CM will not drop me from the Cabinet. If he asks me to resign, I will resign as minister and submit my resignation as MLA as well.

Shivanagouda NaIk,
Minister


We are all in favour of inducting Belur Gopalakrishna into the Cabinet. I am returning to Bangalore on Tuesday and a meeting will be held with the supporters before taking any decision.

M P Renukacharya,
Minister


I sacrificed my Cabinet berth to accommodate a new entrant to the party. Now, I want the CM give me a berth in the Cabinet. My induction will provide an ample representation to the people in north Karnataka.

S K Bellubbi,
MLA


There was no need for a Cabinet expansion leading to political crisis at this juncture, more so as the Gram Panchayat elections are in the offing. A decision on the issue can be arrived at a coordinating committee meeting.

G Janardhana Reddy,
Minister

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