Dissidence brews soon after Cabinet expansion

Soon after 17 MLAs took oath as ministers, dissidence in BJP spilled out in the open. Prominent BJP leaders and close aides of CM B S Yediyurappa,  Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti and Bilgi MLA Murugesh Nirani, were among the 20-plus legislators who skipped the ceremony after being hopeful of a Cabinet berth.

The signs of disgruntlement were clear during the swearing-in ceremony as many MLAs - elected multiple times from their constituencies and aspiring a Cabinet berth - were absent. Apart from Katti and Nirani, Arabhavi MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi, Vijayapura MLA Basavaraj Patil Yatnal, Chitradurga’s G H Thippareddy were among the notable absentees during the ceremony

Many legislators including Katti, Thippareddy, Hosadurga MLA Gulihatti Shekar and 7-time MLA from Sullia S Angara expressed their dissatisfaction over not being inducted into the Cabinet.

Katti said that though his name had featured in the list of ministers till Tuesday morning, it was dropped at the last moment. “Half of the Cabinet is yet to be expanded. I am confident that I will be inducted in the next Cabinet expansion,” he said.

Supporters of Thippareddy staged a protest in Chitradurga, prompting police to resort to mild caning. He told a news channel that he was unhappy as none of the legislators from the district featured in the Cabinet. 

Angara alleged that MLAs, who stuck to the party ideology for decades, were not recognised. MLC and Kalaburagi district BJP president B G Patil said that they had expected at least one ministerial berth as the district had five BJP legislators.

Meanwhile, Nirani and Balachandra Jarkiholi ruled out any dissatisfaction among BJP MLAs.”I am not unhappy, as there is an opportunity for the ministership in the future,” Nirani said and urged other MLAs to understand the compulsions of BJP high command and Yediyurappa in forming the Cabinet. “It is clear that all MLAs cannot be accommodated,” he said.

There were also reports that the disgruntled MLAs got into a huddle to discuss the fact that they were not inducted into the Cabinet.

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