Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday expanded his 17-months old cabinet with the induction of 7 new ministers but soon after resentment erupted within the state BJP and ruling party legislators.
The oath ceremony took place around 4 PM today at the Glass House of Raj Bhavan where Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to MLAs Umesh Katti (Hukkeri), S. Angara (Sullia), Murugesh Nirani (Bilgi) and Arvind Limbavali (Mahadevapura), and MLCs R. Shankar, M.T.B. Nagaraj and C.P. Yogeshwar. It was the third cabinet expansion in Karnataka since the formation of BJP led government in July 2019.
The dissatisfaction ensued as BJP and ruling party legislators, who were aspirants, expressed serious reservations about MLCs not elected by the people being made ministers, lack of representation to certain regions, with most ministers still from Bengaluru and Belagavi districts. The also raised concern on their “seniority or sacrifice” not being considered.
Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who has been critical of BS Yediyurappa, accused him of making appointments under blackmail, without considering ‘seniority or honesty’.
The former union minister also alleged that the CM and his family have ‘hijacked’ the BJP in the state, thus requesting PM to end dynastic politics from Yediyurappa’s family in the state of Karnataka.
“CM is making those who are blackmailing him ministers. Three people- one political secretary and two ministers have been blackmailing with some of Yediyurappa’s CDs for three months. One who will become minister today, along with CD blackmail, was also involved in payment of money to Vijayendra (CM’s son),” Yatnal said.
Addressing media in Vijayapura, Yatnal, who had stated that he did not want to become minister under Yediyurappa. He further claimed that three people who are blackmailing the CM had met him four months ago with a plan to depose Yediyurappa.
To note, this will be the third expansion of Karnataka cabinet under Yediyurappa since he took over as CM in July 2019. In August 2019, 17 ministers were inducted, whereas in February 2020, ten newcomers to the BJP were inducted into the Cabinet. Before announcing the cabinet expansion, CM had also met BJP national President J P Nadda and other senior leaders of the party in New Delhi.
This Cabinet expansion is crucial in this event of by-election to Maski and Basavakalyana assembly segments and Belagavi Lok Sabha seat which is vacant after the demise of former Union minister Suresh Angadi.