GTD in good spirits as CM woos him with Excise dept

GTD in good spirits as CM woos him with Excise dept

G T Devegowda

 After persistent bargaining, senior JD(S) leader and Higher Education minister G T Devegowda, who is the only minister yet to take charge, says he is finally a “happy” man.

Devegowda on Friday told DH that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has agreed to hand over the Excise portfolio to him. Excise is one among the 11 portfolio that the chief minister currently holds.

The Chamundeshwari MLA, who has come to be known as the ‘giant killer’ after his thumping victory against former chief minister Siddaramaiah, will be given one more portfolio.

“Kumaraswamy has agreed to hand over the Excise portfolio. He has also assured that I will get Agricultural Marketing portfolio too. Agricultural Marketing will be carved out of the Cooperation portfolio. I’m happy that I have finally got portfolios that I am happy with,” said Devegowda, who was on his way to Tirupati on Friday. Ever since he was inducted into the Cabinet, Devegowda has been a troubled man. He lost out on two portfolios that he was eyeing (Revenue and Water Resources) to the Congress.

When the JD(S) asked him to take over the Cooperation portfolio, the veteran cooperative had vehemently denied the same, saying that he wanted a more “lucrative” portfolio.

Devegowda asked his party leadership to either give him Public Works or Energy -- portfolios that Kumaraswamy’s brother H D Revanna too was keen on.

He had even drummed up support from his party colleagues who had collectively voiced their disgruntlement over Revanna being handed over two important portfolios. After several deliberations, it was decided that Revanna will handle only Public Works.

Just when Devegowda thought that his demand was met, Kumaraswamy vested him with the Higher Education portfolio, a decision which deeply distressed the senior MLA.  Devegowda registered his protest by making himself scarce for two days, while Kumaraswamy attracted brickbats for making an 8th class pass the Higher Education minister.

After Devegowda outrightly declined the said portfolio, Kumaraswamy and party supremo H D Deve Gowda agreed to give him the Cooperation portfolio, which is currently held by  Bandeppa Kashempur of the JD(S).

This decision didn’t go well with Kashempur, who had already held two departmental review meetings. When it became apparent that Kashempur would not swap Cooperation with Higher Education, Kumaraswamy announced that he would himself handle the latter portfolio.

He is, however, now forced to sacrifice Excise, a major revenue generating portfolio.

Devegowda is hoping that he will assume office next week.

“I have been assured that the announcement will be made in the next couple of days. I am the only one who hasn’t started work. I am really keen on assuming office next week,” he added.