The cabinet expansion in Karnataka has sparked discontent among leaders in the state BJP, with several legislators openly expressing their disillusionment with not being given a cabinet berth. The developments occurred hours after 16 BJP legislators and a councilman took oath as ministers in Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet on Tuesday morning.
Speaking to the media, six-time MLA from Chitradurga Assembly segment, Thippa Reddy said that he was disappointed at not being offered a cabinet berth.
“I have been in politics for the last 50 years and I have been elected six times as the MLA. I have worked so hard to gain the trust of the people. But just like always, an outsider will be named as the district-incharge minister for Chitradurga. I am a senior leader and I had expected a cabinet berth. I am not someone who lobbies through followers. I hope the high command will take this into consideration.”Thippa Reddy, MLA
Several BJP leaders, who were allegedly responsible for pulling off Operation Lotus in Karnataka and ensuring that the party got 16 Congress and JD(S) leaders to resign, have not been given ministerial posts. Among them are Virajpet MLA and former Speaker KG Bopaiah, nine-time MLA from Hukkeri Umesh Katti, Honnali MLA Renukacharya, Mahadevapura MLA Aravind Limbavali and Arabhavi MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi.
A BJP source close to Balachandra Jarkiholi said that the leader was responsible for convincing his brother – Gokak MLA, Ramesh Jarkiholi to defect from Congress and stage a rebellion. Balachandra’s brother Satish Jarkiholi was the Minister for Environment and Forests in the Kumaraswamy cabinet. No matter which party is in power, one of the Jarkiholi brothers – Ramesh (Congress rebel MLA), Satish (Congress) or Balachandra (BJP) always manage to get a ministerial post due to their influence in Belagavi. This time around, the Jarkiholi family was sidelined during the cabinet expansion.
Several of Balachandra Jarkiholi and Thippa Reddy’s supporters staged demonstrations in Arabhavi and Chitradurga, demanding that the leaders be given ministerial berths.
“Since I have worked for the party for so long, my followers expected me to get a cabinet berth. I am just going about my work now. I am sure that one of the Jarkiholis will get a cabinet berth. But it is my personal opinion that a senior leader like Umesh Katti must have been given a ministerial berth. He has been with the party for so long and was crucial for its success. He should not have been sidelined,” Balachandra Jarkiholi told the media in Arabhavi.
BJP insiders say that the high command had expected the state leaders to rebel, due to which only 17 names were confirmed this time around. “Bye-polls have to be held for 17 segments after the spate of resignations. Several of the rebels were promised ministerial berths. Depending on who will win or lose in the bye-polls, the next round of cabinet berths will be allotted. The rebels will be pacified as they can now expect to get berths during the next expansion,” the BJP source added.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)