Bending under pressure a day after allocating portfolios to ten newly inducted ministers of his cabinet, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday (February 11) reshuffled them apparently under pressure from some newly inducted ministers.
According to an official notification issued by Governor Vajubhai Vala, Anand Singh, who was allotted the portfolio of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs on Monday, has now been given the charge of Forest, Ecology and Environment Department.
BC Patil, who was given the charge of Forest Department, has now been allocated Agriculture department, which was additionally held by Home minister Basavaraj Bommai.
Yediyurappa has taken back the Small Scale Industries portfolio from K Gopalaiah and has now allocated him Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department. The additional charge of sugar department that Gopalaiah had has been given to Labour minister A Shivaram Hebbar.
According to BJP sources, Singh, Patil and Gopalaiah were unhappy with their portfolios and had exerted pressure on the Chief Minister to change the departments assigned to them. Though there was a demand for plum portfolios like Energy and Bangalore Development that are with the Chief Minister currently, Yediyurappa has not allotted them as it may give rise to a rift within, as several senior party leaders and ministers have been eyeing the departments.
The other minor changes that have been done in Tuesday’s reallocation include Minority Welfare department that was with Animal Husbandry, Haj and Wakf Department minister Prabhu Chauhan, which has been given to Textile minister Shrimant Patil.
Similarly, Ecology and Environment has been divested from Mines and Geology minister CC Patil and allotted to Anand Singh along with Forest. Urban Development minister BA Basvaraj will have the responsibility of Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) and Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), excluding Bangalore Development and related department and Directorate of Town Planning.
Yediyurappa on February 6 had expanded his cabinet by inducting 10 of 11 legislators who had won the bypolls in December on the BJP ticket after defecting from the Congress and JD(S) and subsequently facing disqualification.
During the portfolio allocation on Monday, the Chief Minister had assigned the plum Water Resources Department to Ramesh Jarkiholi, who had played a key role in the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government that paved the way for the BJP to come to power.
With the BJP leadership making it clear that there will be no more Deputy Chief Ministers, the post that he was eyeing for, Jarkiholi had put pressure for the Water Resources Department.
Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, the only newly elected BJP legislator after defecting from the Congress who was not made minister during the recent expansion, has expressed displeasure over him being appointed as chairman of Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL), stating that he was not interested in it.
“When I was told that I will be made chief of board or corporation, I had said give me Land Army (Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited) as I am a Civil Engineer and I can perform better in it. Last night I got to know I have been given MSIL, I am going to Bengaluru and meet the Chief Minister. If they want to give, let them give Land Army, I am not interested in MSIL,” Kumathalli told reporters in Belagavi.
“I should have been made minister, but due to certain reasons and in the interest of the party I remained patient. I have been promised that I will be made a minister in the next expansion,” he added.
With a few new ministers still unhappy over their portfolios, disgruntlement among the party’s old guard over them being left out during the expansion, regional and caste imbalance in the cabinet, Yediyurappa may have to look at another round of expansion, probably along with rejig in the days ahead, party sources said.
The cabinet currently has 28 members and six berths are still vacant.
(With inputs from agencies.)