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BSY reshuffles cabinet to contain dissent

Bengaluru Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday caved into demands of dissenting ministers and made changes to his cabinet by redistributing portfolios to calm tempers, barely a day after rebellion broke out within his government
By Sharan Poovanna
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:35 PM IST

Bengaluru Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday caved into demands of dissenting ministers and made changes to his cabinet by redistributing portfolios to calm tempers, barely a day after rebellion broke out within his government.

The changes were made less than a day after his government distributed and reshuffled several portfolios to newly inducted ministers who were sworn in on January 13 .

The move leaves the 77-year old chief minister vulnerable to more such demands from disgruntled leaders within his two-year old government riven by dissent.

J.C.Madhuswamy, who was stripped of minor irrigation, law and parliamentary affairs was given Haj and Wakf department along with his earlier allotted medical education.

“Even I do not know the details as I am in Mysuru and have had no contact with the CM. I will wait a few days before taking any decision,” Madhuswamy said on Friday. He, however, refused to reveal what decision he is likely to take.

K.Gopalaiah, a former Janata Dal (Secular) leader who helped Yediyurappa to power along with 16 other legislators, was handed the excise department. Gopalaiah said that he was happy with the newly allotted excise portfolio.

N.Nagaraju (M.T.B), one of the several people, who had openly lashed out at the choice of portfolios, was made minister for municipal administration and sugarcane development.

However, health and family welfare minister K.Sudhakar remains disenchanted after he was stripped of the medical education portfolio, people aware of developments said.

Gopalaiah said that the issue of Sudhakar is something that the CM has to take care of.

Sudhakar is one of the several legislators within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Karnataka who hone feelings of neglect in the latest cabinet reshuffle exercise.

Several legislators overlooked in the cabinet have also started holding meetings among themselves to decide the next course of action to be heard by the party’s central leadership.

Yediyurappa divested from his own kitty and handed over planning, programme monitoring and statistics department to K.C.Narayana Gowda, another dissenting minister.

Arvind Limbavali, a legislator who helped secure the support of the turncoats, was given the Kannada and culture portfolio in addition to the forest department, he was allocated on Thursday.

Yediyurappa’s fire fighting may have prevented an imminent explosion of dissent but simmering tensions are likely to play out in the near future that could make life more difficult for the chief minister.

With elections just two years away, any cracks within the BJP is likely to play to the advantage of the Congress, the principal opposition party in the state.

Narendar Pani, political analyst and faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), said that this style of functioning is typical of Yediyurappa who is trying to cultivate a section of legislators and others loyal to him.

“He is treating the turncoats as one branch within the party by taking from one and giving it to another. As long as he doesn’t have a major faction developing against him, he should be okay and get his job done,” Pani added.

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