Karnataka gets three Deputy Chief Ministers

Karnataka gets three Deputy Chief Ministers

A full month after he formed the government, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday got three deputies, a move by the BJP central leadership that was seen as not only checkmating him but also other senior party leaders.

A full month after he formed the government, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday got three deputies, a move by the BJP central leadership that was seen as not only checkmating him but also other senior party leaders. 

Govind Karjol, C N Ashwathnarayan and Laxman Savadi are now deputy chief ministers, an idea Yediyurappa resisted. 

All 17 ministers, including the three deputy CMs, were given their portfolios through a notification Governor Vajubhai R Vala issued late Monday evening. 

Karjol is now public works minister with additional charge of the social welfare department, while Ashwathnarayan is the minister for higher education, IT & BT, science and technology. Savadi is the transport minister. 

Karjol is a Dalit, whereas Ashwathnarayan is a Vokkaliga and Savadi a Lingayat. Besides wooing these communities, the elevation of these three ministers as Yediyurappa’s deputies appears to be an attempt of the party leadership at creating a second-rung of leadership. Vokkaligas and Lingayats are two of Karnataka’s most dominant communities. 

Yediyurappa is understood to have argued that making Savadi his deputy would send out a wrong signal, given that he, too, is a Lingayat. Also, Savadi’s induction into the Cabinet has already caused heartburn within the party, especially ticking off 8-time MLA Umesh Katti. Many in the BJP have questioned why Savadi, who lost the Assembly polls last year, was inducted in the first place.

On August 20, it may be noted that Karjol, Ashwathnarayan and Savadi were the first to take oath as ministers. So, their elevation as Yediyurappa’s deputies may have been the plan all along. Notably, none of the three is a native BJP or RSS member. 

As expected, Yediyurappa retained some major portfolios with himself - major irrigation, energy, agriculture, Bengaluru development, cooperation, sugar among a few others. 

This is the first time Karnataka will have three deputy CMs. When the BJP was in power between 2008-13, there were two deputy chief ministers - R Ashoka, a Vokkaliga and KS Eshwarappa, a Kuruba. 

Health Minister B Sreeramulu, a Nayaka (ST), was projected as the party’s deputy CM face. The name of Large and Medium Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, a Lingayat and former CM, was also being speculated for a deputy CM berth. It looks like they have been sidelined for now.

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