The allocation of portfolios to 17 newly inducted ministers into his cabinet in Karnataka will take place after his return from New Delhi on Sunday, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said on Saturday. Yediyurappa cited death of BJP stalwart and former finance minister Arun Jaitley, and his travel to Delhi on Sunday to pay his last respects to the departed leader as the reasons for the delay.
“I have had discussion with Amit Shah (BJP president). Today I had to send the list (of portfolios) to the Governor. As Arun Jaitley passed away, this was not the right time. Tomorrow after coming from Delhi I will do it..everything is clear, there are no issues,” Yediyurappa told reporters. Yediyurappa had earlier said allocation of portfolios will be done by Saturday post noon.
“I have had one-and-half hour long discussion with our national president and Home Minister Amit Shah regarding political developments in the state and other things.
By second half of the day who should be given what portfolio in the cabinet, will be finalised,” he had told reporters here late last night after returning from Delhi .
Having a tight rope to walk by pacifying the disgruntled MLAs who missed out on Cabinet berth, coupled with allocation of portfolios to new ministers, Yediyurappa had left for Delhi on Thursday to consult BJP central leadership to deal with the situation.
Some disqualified former legislators of the Congress and JDS who helped bring down the coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy reportedly are also piling pressure on Yediyurappa, seeking their pound of flesh and plum portfolios.
Amid all this, talks of having Deputy Chief Ministers and one more round of cabinet expansion soon to induct couple of disgruntled MLAs has gained momentum in BJP circles, party sources said, adding that “However, there is still no final decision on this.”
On his return from Delhi, several Ministers including V Somanna and Suresh Kumar met Yediyurappa and held discussions on Saturday.
Independent MLA H Nagesh expressed hope about getting Energy portfolio.
“I will do good job if given power (Energy) department as I have worked in the sector and have experience. I hope I will get good portfolio..,” he told reporters.
More than three weeks after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister, Yediyurappa expanded his cabinet last Tuesday, inducting 17 Ministers.
Though the expansion brought an end the nearly month long wait for the cabinet to take shape, it led to some heartburn in a section of the party as several MLAs continued to make no secret of their displeasure after missing the bus.
With several MLAs openly expressing displeasure over being left out, Yediyurappa has been making attempts to douse the embers, by reaching out to them.
The Chief Minister on Saturday too tried to pacify eight time Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti, around whom several disgruntled MLAs are reportedly rallying.
According to reports Katti has expressed his displeasure to Yediyurappa during the meeting, about induction of former legislator Laxman Savadi, who is neither a member of the Assembly not the Council, being made the Minister, allegedly in Savadis presence.
Kattis telephonic conversation with Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah on Wednesday night, which both of them termed as causal friendly conversation, had led to speculation about the former’s next political move.
Another BJP MLA from Honnali M P Renukacharya too continued his attack on Savadi without naming him, but said, he will remain loyal to Yediyurappa and the party.
Yediyurappa has kept 16 Minister posts vacant to accommodate some more BJP members and from among those 17 disqualified former legislators who helped him come to power.
Meanwhile, few disqualified MLAs, who were in Delhi to meet lawyers representing them in the Supreme Court, where their plea challenging disqualification was pending, are returning to Bengaluru, sources said.
According to reports, they had expressed keenness to meet BJP’s central leadership on their political future, but that did not happen.
The then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.
On getting relief from the apex court, some of them would be inducted into the cabinet as per the arrangement agreed upon, BJP sources said, noting that Yediyurappa has kept 16 berths still vacant.