RSS insists on having 'original' leaders in K'taka govt

RSS insists on including 'original' BJP leaders in Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai's cabinet

The RSS leadership was appalled at the large number of Janata Parivar leaders becoming ministers

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai. Credit: DH file photo

The overwhelming presence of 'migrant' MLAs in Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai's council of ministers has set off murmurs within the BJP.

Only one-third of the 30-member council of ministers, including the chief minister, are dyed-in-the-wool BJP leaders, while the rest have a history of being in either the Janata Parivar or the Congress.

It was after this realisation that dawned on the top BJP leadership while finalising the list of ministers earlier this week that efforts were made to ensure that at least 10 ministerial berths went to legislators who originally belong to the saffron party.

The RSS leadership was appalled at the large number of Janata Parivar leaders becoming ministers and asked the BJP leadership to include “original” party leaders in the cabinet, BJP sources told DH.

After the intervention by the RSS, leaders such as K S Eshwarappa, R Ashoka, Murugesh Nirani, Prabhu Chauhan, Araga Jnanendra, B C Nagesh, S Angara, V Sunil Kumar, Shashikala Jolle and Kota Srinivas Poojary found place in the council of ministers.

Jolle, who was embroiled in controversy after a sting operation by a private television channel that claimed to have found her demanding bribes, was included in the list at the last moment.

Though Bommai favoured Hiriyur MLA K Poornima and a woman representative in the council of ministers, RSS leaders prevailed upon him to include Jolle.

According to Sangh leaders, Jolle joined BJP in 2008 and unsuccessfully contested against Kaka Saheb Patil from Nippani while Poornima, whose father A Krishnnappa was in Congress and JD(S), became a BJP MLA in 2018.

Though Laxman Savadi, who was aspiring to be a minister from Legislative Council, the party preferred Poojary, who has a Sangh Parivar background. According to BJP leaders, Savadi came from Janata Parivar.

Of the 29 ministers, 10 are original BJP or with Sangh Parivar background, 10 were from migrants who joined the party under Operation Kamala and remaining nine trace their roots to the Janata Parivar or Congress, said a leader.

Even from the original BJP, they retained senior leaders like Eshwarappa, Ashok and Nirani to protect the interest of Sangh Parivar in the government, said the leader.