Yediyurappa faces portfolio heat

B S Yediyurappa

Amid discontent within the state BJP over the Cabinet expansion, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa spent most of Saturday in trying to resolve the thorny issue of allocation of portfolios, a process that may be delayed further due to the demise of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley. 

Earlier in the day, Yediyurappa said the allocation of portfolios had been finalised following his discussion with the BJP central leadership, and that it would be done by Saturday afternoon. But it did not happen. 

Seventeen ministers were inducted on August 20 and they are yet to get portfolios. 

At his home, Yediyurappa attempted truce talks between sulking senior legislator Umesh Katti and minister Laxman Savadi. 

Katti, an 8-time MLA and former minister, has threatened to raise the banner of revolt for not being made a minister, as he questioned the logic behind the induction of Savadi, who had lost the Assembly polls last year.

Katti was seen angrily storming out of Yediyurappa’s home, suggesting that there was no consensus. He was irate when reporters asked him for comments. 

Yediyurappa was also visited by party legislators representing Bengaluru segments. They are said to have asked the chief minister to keep the Bengaluru City Development portfolio with himself for the time being.

Apparently, ministers R Ashoka and V Somanna have sought the portfolio. Disqualified MLA S T Somashekhar, who is hoping the Supreme Court will set aside his disqualification so that he can be inducted into the Cabinet, is also said to be eyeing it. 

Meanwhile, Yediyurappa is learnt to have requested the BJP central leadership for permission to induct some more legislators such as Katti, S Angara, G H Thippareddy and Raju Gowda into the Cabinet so as to quell disgruntlement.

But the party top brass is said to have told the chief minister to wait before another round of Cabinet expansion is done. 

While those already in the Cabinet are lobbying for plum portfolios, minister H Nagesh (Independent) openly said he wants to be the energy 
minister.

“I want Power,” he said. “And I have the experience required. I’m confident the CM will give heed to it and give me a good portfolio,” said Nagesh, who started his career as an assistant engineer in the erstwhile Karnataka Electricity Board and went on to become director (transmission) at the KPTCL. 

Yediyurappa said the portfolios will be allocated after he returns from Jaitley’s funeral in Delhi on Sunday and that “there is no confusion.” 

 

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