K'taka MLAs, ministers lobby as Cabinet mystery lingers

Karnataka MLAs, ministers lobby as Cabinet mystery lingers

While ministerial aspirants wait, disgruntlement is brewing

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. Credit: PTI File Photo

Some ministerial aspirants held talks with BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel on Thursday even as Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he was awaiting word from the party’s central leadership on whether he should expand or reshuffle his Cabinet. 

Chief minister’s political secretary M P Renukacharya, Mayakonda MLA N Linganna, Navalgund MLA Shankar B Patil Munenakoppa are said to have reached out to Kateel, apparently to secure his support to become ministers. 

Yediyurappa’s Cabinet has seven vacant berths and there are over a dozen ministerial aspirants. If the top brass goes for a reshuffle, Yediyurappa will have to drop some incumbent ministers to make way for fresh faces. 

Hectic political activity has come to the fore with ministers lobbying to secure their place on one side and legislators ganging up to mount pressure to bag ministerial berths on the other side. 

CM waits for nod

Earlier in the day, Yediyurappa told reporters that he was awaiting directions from the BJP top brass. “Delhi will clear it in 2-3 days. What next will be decided once Delhi clears it,” he said. 

While ministerial aspirants wait, disgruntlement is brewing.

“It’s been one and a half years since our party came to power. It’s time that some incumbent ministers are dropped. This is the opinion of many legislators. There are many MLAs who have won 2-3 times who need to be given an opportunity,” Renukacharya, a ministerial aspirant, said.

“But ministers are lobbying to stay on, by holding meetings. In that case, we told Kateel that we MLAs will also hold separate meetings,” he added.   

There is also heartburn among a section of BJP MLAs over the possibility of MLC C P Yogeeshwar being inducted as a minister. Their grouse is that Yogeeshwar should not be made a minister as he lost the 2018 Assembly elections. 

Kateel is said to have subtly told ministerial aspirants to stay put till BJP Karnataka incharge Arun Singh takes stock of the situation. Some say the Cabinet expansion or reshuffle will not happen until after the winter session of the legislature that is scheduled to start on December 7 and end on December 15. 

“MLAs had come to discuss about their constituencies and the party’s organisation ahead of the panchayat elections,” Kateel said.

“I have already advised ministers to respect MLAs and address their problems,” he said, when asked about the disgruntlement among MLAs. 

Expanding the Cabinet is the CM’s prerogative, Kateel added.