Since BJP’s massive victory in the Karnataka by-elections, the chief minister is plagued with another challenge-accommodating the demands of the newly elected MLAs for cabinet berths while balancing the wishes of the other BJP leaders. The chief minister’s statement on Thursday morning that he might not go to Delhi for at least a week, till he is called by the home minister Amit Shah, has temporarily stalled the lobbying but politicking for posts continue. Over the last couple of days, multiple demands for certain portfolios, causing a dilemma for the chief minister.
While the newly-elected MLAs are trying to impose their wishes on Yediyurappa, claiming that the BJP is in power only because of their ‘sacrifices’ or would have been in opposition. On the other hand, the BJP oldtimers are also ostensibly miffed at these attempts of arm twisting and worry at being sidelined. The chief minister has already announced that all 11 of the legislators who recently joined the BJP and won will be made ministers. But the question now is of portfolios, with the new entrants demanding heavyweight ministries.
BC Patil, talking to the media, said he ‘wouldn't mind handling the home ministry’ as he has worked as a police officer and has knowledge of the workings of the department.
On 20th August, the first cabinet expansion had taken place amidst much drama where 17 BJP legislators, including an independent, were given berths and three deputy chief ministers were inducted. Now one of the MLAs who had been pivotal in manufacturing the rebellion in Congress is assiduously pushing for the post of DyCM and asking if three from within the party have already been given the position then he, who has been instrumental in the formation of the government should not be excluded.
Concerns of regional and caste imbalance are also afflicting the chief minister. In the current cabinet, Bengaluru city has 4 ministers and now three more have been added to the list and from Belagavi, along with two ministers present, three more will be added. The portfolio of Bengaluru Development has been a coveted one in consecutive governments and this time too, several legislators have been lobbying for it. Reports suggest that the new MLAs might not be rewarded with the lucrative ministry which could be given to Dy CM Ashwath Narayana. Adding to the existing chaos, senior MLA Umesh Katti who has been sulking for not being given a ministry has said that he believes that he is the next chief minister from BJP and said he would be happy if the high command includes him this time in the cabinet expansion.