Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa’s success in getting back the support of 11 party rebels comes with a headache - scarce cabinet berths and many aspirants.
Karnataka can have 34 ministers, including the chief minister, as the state assembly’s strength is 225, including one nominated member.
There are seven vacancies and at least 18 aspirants, including the 11 who Sunday announced support to Yedyurappa, three days after the Supreme Court restored their membership.
For the record, the rebels and BJP leadership have claimed the support was “unconditional”.
Even if the 11 rebels have not insisted on cabinet berths, it will not be easy for Yeddyurappa to meet their other demands such as more money for the development of their constituencies.
The rebels told reporters in New Delhi on Sunday, while announcing their support to Yeddyurappa, that their only concern now was rapid development of their constituencies. For this they are seeking adequate funds, though none specified the quantum.
While the BJP continues to insist that it is a disciplined party, the Karnataka developments prove otherwise.
A positive aspect, if one may consider it to be so, is that unlike most other parties where legislators do not openly demand cabinet berths, BJP legislators in Karnataka have no hesitation in going public about seeking such positions.
At least two BJP legislators, CT Ravi and DN Jeevraj, had threatened to resign last year when they were not made ministers. However they were pacified. Jeevraj had submitted his resignation as chief whip of the party but later took it back.
Yeddyurappa has to accommodate one Independent, Varthur Prakash, in the cabinet as he supported him when the 16 rebels withdrew support in October last year.
That leaves six cabinet posts to be filled.
One way ruling parties in the states get over the tricky problem of not being able to accommodate all aspirants in cabinet is to make them heads of state-run boards and corporations with cabinet rank.
However, here too there will be a tussle to head high profile boards and corporations rather than those dealing with slum clearance, providing water and maintaining sewage.
Both Yeddyurappa and the BJP central leaders who brokered the latest peace deal with the rebels will have their hands full in the coming weeks to see that the spoils are fairly shared and do not throw up new rebels.