Karnataka

CM likely to go in for an overhaul; some Ministers may get the sack

Of the maximum strength of 34, the Cabinet presently has 18 people, including the Chief Minister, leaving 16 berths vacant. File

Of the maximum strength of 34, the Cabinet presently has 18 people, including the Chief Minister, leaving 16 berths vacant. File  

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Maintaining caste, regional balance has turned complex with fears that too many from Belagavi region and Lingayat community may end up dominating Cabinet

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa is reportedly toying with the idea of not just expanding his Cabinet but also overhauling it, by dropping some Ministers and inducting a few fresh faces, in an effort to maintain caste and regional balance.

He is expected to go to Delhi next week to hold meetings with the party high command to get the expansion and reshuffle cleared.

Of the maximum strength of 34, the Cabinet presently has 18 people, including the Chief Minister, leaving 16 berths vacant. Of this, 11 will go to former Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs who defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party and won the bypolls. Two are expected to be kept vacant for N. Nagaraju (MTB) and R. Shankar, who may be made MLCs in June and Ministers later.

That would leave three more berths, for which there is intense lobbying. Among several leaders lobbying for these berths, senior leaders Umesh Katti, Arvind Limbavali, and S. Angara are reportedly leading the race, party sources said.

However, maintaining caste and regional balance in the Cabinet has turned complex, with fears that too many from Belagavi region and Lingayat community may end up dominating the Cabinet. Belagavi already has two Ministers — Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi and the lone woman Minister Shashikala Jolle, both Lingayats. Sources said that they are unlikely to be dropped.

Three defectors who have won from the district — Ramesh Jarkiholi, Shrimanth Patil, and Mahesh Kumathalli, besides Mr. Katti, have been lobbying hard to be inducted. If all of them make it to the Cabinet, there will be six Ministers from the district. Out of the six, four will be Lingayats, with Mr. Jarkiholi and Mr. Patil being non-Lingayats.

“The Chief Minister is trying to convince one of them to accept the post of head of a prominent corporation to ensure regional balance in the Cabinet,” a close associate of the Chief Minister said.

Presently, the Cabinet is dominated by Lingayats with eight Ministers, including the Chief Minister himself. Add to this, there are two from the community among the rebels — B.C. Patil and Mr. Kumathalli. “Mr. Yediyurappa is keen on dropping at least two Lingayat Ministers, if not three, to accommodate new faces,” sources close to him said.

The grapevine in the party has been that Mr. Yediyurappa is reportedly upset with two of his close associates, both Lingayats, for being “ambitious” and trying to lobby within the community to emerge as successors to him to lead the community from the BJP. “The Chief Minister has been grooming his son B.Y. Vijayendra and sees the duo as competitors to his son. The two have also run into controversies recently and are likely to be demoted from the key portfolios they handle, even if they manage to survive in the Cabinet,” sources said.

Dy. CM posts

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is said to have been aggressively lobbying with the high command to abolish the three Deputy Chief Minister posts, arguing that it had caused much heartburn among other senior leaders. “If the high command is adamant on keeping these posts, he may even suggest creating more deputies,” sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 6:35:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/cm-likely-to-go-in-for-an-overhaul-some-ministers-may-get-the-sack/article30517351.ece

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