Go to Delhi, BS Yediyurappa dares BJP MLAs dejected with cabinet expansion
- Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa remained unfazed despite widespread grumblings by BJP lawmakers and advised them to go to Delhi and complain to the party's national leadership.
A day after Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa finally completed a long-awaited cabinet expansion by adding seven new members and dropping one, several BJP leaders on Thursday expressed unhappiness over regional and caste imbalance.
In the 33-member cabinet, 13 ministers belong to just two districts of Bengaluru and Belgavi, with several of the remaining 28 districts not even having token representation in the ministry.
While capital city Bengaluru has eight ministers, Belgavi has five representatives in the state cabinet.
Senior BJP leader and former minister S A Ramdas expressed unhappiness at Mysuru district not having a representative in the cabinet.
"It is unfortunate that no legislator from Mysuru was considered for induction. It is essential to have a region wise balance," Ramadas told HT. The CM's political secretary M P Renukacharya too lammented the lack of representation to Davangere district. Renuckacharya who failed to get a cabinet berth despite intense lobbying now intends to take his grievance to the party high command in Delhi.
"Unlike other leaders who hide the real reason for going to Delhi, I am openly saying that I will go to Delhi and meet party seniors to seek justice," Renukacharya told reporters on Thursday.
Apart from the regional imbalance, the other grouse that several BJP leaders have is about over representation of some castes and under representation of others.
Analysts point out that the cabinet has 11 Lingayat members including the chief minister. Lingayats are estimated to be a sixth of the population but have a third of all cabinet berths.
A senior BJP leader who did not want to be identified said the party hopes to rectify the imbalance. “Yes, it is a fact that the Lingayat community has backed the party more than others and thus we have more legislators belonging to that community and thus higher representation. However, this is something which we hope to rectify in the long run."
Vokkaligas the second largest community has seven representatives, four Kurbas and five Scheduled Caste and two Scheduled Tribes members. Brahmins and OBCs have two representatives each.
Sunil Kumar, a three-term MLA from Karkala who was expecting a cabinet berth but did not make it, even tweeted about saying that while he was a loyal party worker, he did not know the method of 'caste glorification' to get a cabinet berth.
Despite the grumblings of unhappy lawmakers, Yediyurappa remained unfazed and said "If any of them (legislators) have reservations (about cabinet expansion), let them go to Delhi and complain to the national leadership of BJP."
However Yediyurappa's bitter critic within the party, Vijaypura MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal continued his tirade against the CM and alleged that he had been blackmailed.
"It is unfortunate that blackmailers have got cabinet berths. Some of Yediyurappa's CDs recorded by his own grandson are not viewable and some have used it to blackmail him and get cabinet berths," Yatnal told reporters.
Karnataka’s Congress unit president DK Shivakumar demanded that a judicial inquiry should be held into what these CDs are and who are the people who allegedly have the possession.
Leader of opposition in the assembly Siddaramiah said, "A BJP MLA himself is alleging that several BJP leaders got cabinet berths by blackmailing the CM. Does Yediyurappa have the courage to file a criminal case against those who have blackmailed him?"
The CM has not responded to Yatnal's allegations even as state unit chief Nalin Kumar Kateel had earlier said that he had recommended disciplinary action against the Vijaypura MLA for making accusations against Yediyurappa.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Even though the case was posted for February 4, the court heard the case on Wednesday based on the request of the former Tamil Nadu CM's family.
- An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that all endeavours should be made to ensure appointments come through in a time-bound manner.
- The TMC, however, has hit back calling it the height of hypocrisy and refuting the charges as baseless allegations.
- Leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the platform of farm unions leading the protests, on Wednesday apologised for the violent events in Delhi that have dented the credibility of the movement.
- Singh and Pompili will preside over the signing of a letter of intent between the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the French Development Agency (AFD) for developing a floating solar plant of up to 150 MW.
- Mamata Banerjee has recently appointed coordinators for the five assembly constituencies in East Midnapore district, the home turf of former TMC stalwart Suvendu Adhikari who joined the BJP on December 19.
- As part of the strategy, the Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday issued an order announcing hefty cash incentives to be given to gram panchayats where sarpanches and ward members are elected unanimously without any contest.
- The defence ministry said Rajnath Singh received an "introductory telephone call" from the newly-appointed US Secretary of Defence Austin and that the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together to strengthen defence cooperation and the strategic partnership between the two countries.