Karnataka Minister Amid Cabinet Expansion Row




Karnataka Chief Minster BS Yediyurappa recently expands his 17-month old cabinet for a third time.


The Karnataka BJP legislators, who were left out of the recent cabinet expansion and have criticised the decision, are hoping to draw the attention of the party’s high command to their complaints. It is, however, unlikely that their criticism will impact the stability of the BS Yediyurappa government that enjoys a comfortable majority in the Assembly.

It is also unlikely that their grievances would be addressed in view of the BJP central leadership’s involvement in the selection of ministers – seen to be favouring the chief minister’s loyalists. Mr Yediyurappa had several rounds of meetings with central leadership on the issue .

Talking to NDTV, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Ashwath Narayan, dismissed rumours of discontent leading to rebellion.

“In our party (BJP), things are done democratically and everyone is united. We might have different aspirations, but that doesn’t mean there are differences. The leaders can express their grievances — there is scope, there is a forum. We will listen,” Mr Narayan said.

He also ruled out any threat to the BS Yediyurappa government that came to power in 2019 after 17 MLAs from the previous Congress-JDS government defected to the BJP. Of them, many have been inducted in the 34-member cabinet with the most recent expansion filling seven vacancies. One spot is still vacant.

“There is no question of any threat to our government. We will complete the term and even the upcoming election we will win. I don’t think there is any scope for any revolt,” he added.

The BJP-led state government enjoys A majority in the 224-seat Assembly with 122 seats with the support of 119 legislators from the BJP and three independents. The Congress has 67 seats, JD(S) 33 while two are vacant.

MP Renukacharya, an MLA from Honnali and one of the handfuls of lawmakers openly unhappy with the pick of ministers, told NDTV that he was in Delhi on Tuesday. It is believed he may have come to appeal before the central leadership.


But sources said it was unlikely that central command would give much of a hearing to any complaints.

The 77-year-old Chief Minister had made numerous visits to Delhi and met the Home Minister ahead of the expansion. Thereafter, Amit Shah had also visited Karnataka and attended several functions with Mr Yediyurappa.

The state’s main opposition party, Congress, has said it was natural for the BJP legislators to feel dissatisfied, but added that it does not intend to “interfere” in the goings on.

“They (BJP) are more or less running a coalition government. The BJP lot are not satisfied and dissident activity is going on. We don’t want to interfere in this,” Congress Karnataka unit President DK Shivakumar told NDTV.

Mr Shivakumar also referred to allegations that money had been paid to the former Congress MLAs to get them to switch loyalties in 2019.

“Their party high command has encouraged all this activity with Operation Lotus,” he said.

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