Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday indicated that he may assign ministries to seven newly inducted Ministers after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state, even as he remained non-committal on reallocation of portfolios, amid speculation regarding it. “The plan is to do it (assigning of ministries to new ministers) after Amit Shah’s visit..if possible will do it earlier itself,” Yediyurappa told reporters here in response to a question.
He did not respond to a question whether there will be a reallocation of portfolios. “Amit Shah is coming tomorrow, along with him I will go to Bhadravati and we will come back (to Bengaluru) and day-after-tomorrow we will be heading to Belagavi,” he added.
Shah is visiting Karnataka on January 16 and 17 during which he will be participating in various programmes in Shivamogga, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Bengaluru. Ending a long wait, Yediyurappa had expanded his 17-month-old cabinet on Wednesday, inducting seven ministers as he also dropped Excise Minister H Nagesh from the ministry.
There has been speculation ever since that the Chief Minister may affect a rejig by reallocating portfolios among the ministers in the cabinet. The cabinet expansion has led to resentment within the BJP, with several 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.
Some legislators like Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and MLC A H Vishwanath have been openly criticising the Chief Minister by accusing him of inducting ministers under blackmail. Unhappy over the cabinet expansion, disgruntled legislators are expected to meet Shah and air their grievances, party sources said.
Amid talks of reallocation of portfolios, how Yediyurappa manages it will be interesting as several ministers including the new inductees are looking for plum portfolios. While some ministers have two portfolios, the Chief Minister, along with Finance, has Bangalore Development, Energy, Planning, DPAR, Information & Public Relations, Small Scale Industries, Backward Class Welfare Department, Tourism, Kannada and Culture, Youth Empowerment and Sports Department.
Among those portfolios with the CM, Bangalore Development and Energy are said to be the most sought after.