Yediyurappa’s ‘non-interference’ promise not showing in action

Though the former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has over the last three days repeatedly claimed that he will not interfere in the Cabinet formation, ministerial aspirants are continuing to meet him seeking a berth in the new Ministry.

On Saturday too, M.P. Renukacharya, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Munirathna, and Shivanagouda Naik met him lobbying for a ministerial berth. These are only the latest among a slew of legislators who have met him over the last four days.

“I have told legislators meeting me to instead meet Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, whose prerogative is Cabinet formation. I have no role in it,” Mr. Yediyurappa told reporters recently. However, less than a minute after he made this statement, when reporters asked him about the future of defectors who have said they joined the party under his leadership, he said, “I will advice Mr. Bommai to accommodate them suitably as they are responsible for the BJP to come to power.”

A day later after the now customary statement on “non-interference”, answering a question as to whether senior legislator Umesh Katti would be a Minister in the new Cabinet, Mr. Yediyurappa emphatically said, “100%”. Mr. Yediyurappa is also learnt to have been lobbying hard to get his associates anointed as Deputy Chief Ministers in the new Cabinet.

Mr. Bommai, on his return from New Delhi on Saturday, told mediapersons that he would go to the national capital again, maybe in two days, to discuss Cabinet expansion.

First test

The new Chief Minister’s challenge is the Cabinet formation, where his skill to take along and balance the interests of multiple factions in the party will be put to test, said a senior party strategist, adding Cabinet formation would set the tone of the government ahead and was being keenly watched. “The party is especially watching whether he will be able to stave off pressure from Mr. Yediyurappa and emerge his own man,” a former senior Minister said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bommai is in a “Catch-22” situation, party leaders observed. While he is under pressure to not remain a status quoist and instead chart a new course for the party’s government, any attempt to do so may seem like critiquing the former dispensation, risking irritating the veteran leader, said a senior party strategist.

“His assertion that his family won’t intervene in administration, that he would give a corruption-free administration, his warning to bureaucracy that he won’t tolerate ‘chalta hai’ attitude and a file clearance drive — all these have the potential to be misread in a faction-ridden party, when leaders are surrounded by a coterie,” the strategist said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 11:39:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/yediyurappas-non-interference-promise-not-showing-in-action/article35660402.ece

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