Cabinet expansion leads to resentment in Karnataka

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PTI

Bengaluru

Ending a long wait, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa expanded his 17-month-old cabinet on Wednesday, inducting seven ministers as he also dropped Excise Minister H Nagesh from the ministry.

The exercise led to resentment within the BJP, with some MLAs expressing serious reservations about MLCs not elected by the people being made ministers, lack of representation with most ministers still from Bengaluru and Belagavi districts, and also on their “seniority or sacrifice” not being considered.

The ministers sworn in were MLAs Umesh Katti (Hukkeri), S Angara (Sullia), Murugesh Nirani (Bilgi) and Arvind Limbavali (Mahadevapura), and MLCs R Shankar, M T B Nagaraj and C P Yogeshwar.

Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to them at a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.

Yediyurappa, his cabinet colleagues, BJP leaders and office bearers, including general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh, state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel, senior officials of the state government, family members and supporters of new ministers, among others were present.

This was the third expansion of the cabinet since Yediyurappa assumed charge in July 2019 after the collapse of the Congress-JDS government in the wake of revolt by 17 MLAs of the coalition partners.

It’s a mix of the old guard and new entrants from Congress and JDS who made it into the cabinet.

Keeping up his promise, Congress-JD(S) rebels-turned BJP MLCs R Shankar and M T B Nagaraj, who helped the saffron party come to power and also another ruling party MLC Yogeshwar, who is said to have played a key role by managing rebel MLAs during the 2019 political turmoil, were inducted by the Chief Minister.

Among the BJP old guard who were inducted were Katti, Angara, Nirani and Limbavali.

While Shankar and Nagaraj had served as ministers in the previous coalition government from the Congress’ side, Yogeshwar, Katti (eight time MLA), Nirani and Limbavali (state BJP vice-president) were ministers in the erstwhile BJP government.