Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, fighting resentment in his party BJP after including new ministers in his cabinet, has been forced to change their portfolios in a matter of 24 hours. Some ministers had complained soon after their departments were announced yesterday.
J.C. Madhuswamy has been assigned the Haj and Wakf department instead of Kannada and Culture.
Aravind Limbavali, who was given the forest department, will also be in charge of Kannada and Culture.
MTB Nagaraja, who had been unhappy about the Excise department, has now been allocated the Municipal Administration Department and the Sugarcane Development and Directorate of Sugar.
The Excise department goes to K. Gopalaiah, who had earlier been named for Horticulture and Sugarcane Development.
R. Shankar has been given Horticulture instead of the Municipal Administration Department.
K.C. Narayana Gowda will be in charge of Planning, Programme Monitoring and Statistics Department instead of Haj and Wakf.
On Thursday, Mr Nagaraja, Mr Gopalaiah, Mr Madhuswamy and Narayana Gowda had been openly upset about their new ministries. Except for Mr Madhuswamy, most of the new ministers defected from rival parties and expected to be rewarded for their role in facilitating Mr Yediyurappa’s return to power in 2019. “It was a political suicidal attempt to resign from a party and join BJP,” said K Sudhakar, who crossed over from the Congress.
Some ministers had even skipped a cabinet meeting, the first of the rejigged ministry, after which Mr Yediyurappa held several meetings to mollify them.
After the latest changes, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said: “Everybody has spoken to the honourable Chief Minister – and the Chief Minister has spoken to them. They are all happy, they are all contented. The issue is resolved.”
Another minister, R Ashok, added: “All are settled – they are happy. They will follow the portfolios the Chief Minister has given.”
The seven ministers were sworn in on Wednesday, almost one and a half years after Mr Yediyurappa took over as Karnataka Chief Minister.
The elevation of the newcomers as ministers has upset many in the BJP. The Chief Minister, who consulted Union Home Minister Amit Shah before taking the step, has repeatedly said whoever is unhappy was free to complain to the central leadership.