Yediyurappa expands cabinet, sparks disgruntlement in Karnataka BJP ranks  

Revolt is now brewing in the ruling BJP camp in Karnataka after MLAs denied ministerial berths came out with their ire openly

Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa (file photo) 
Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa (file photo)

KV Lakshmana

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Revolt is now brewing in the ruling BJP camp in Karnataka after MLAs denied ministerial berths have come out with their ire openly.

Supporters of a couple of ministers-to-be from the BJP held protests during which they burnt tyres to lodge protest against their non-inclusion in the 17-member cabinet that Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa formed to assist him run the state.

Within minutes of the swearing-in of the council of ministers on Tuesday, few of the MLAs who did not make it, expressed their disappointment as also dissent in some cases.

Some of the unsuccessful aspirants boycotted the ceremony while a couple of them vowed to seek justice with the party high command in Delhi. In fact, anticipating such trouble in cabinet formation, Yediyurappa got the list cleared from the party leadership in Delhi, which took some time for the process to be completed.

But, the party could not silence the disappointment and resentment of the MLAs, some of whom boycotted the swearing in ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan.

Among those who boycotted the ceremony included senior MLAs and former ministers like Balachandra Jhakiholi, JH Thippareddy,Renukacharya, Murugesh Nirani, CP Yogeshwar, Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal, Gulihatti Shekhar and Umesh Katti.

Gulihatti Shekhar told a television channel that after joining the BJP he lost his value that he had as an independent and recalled how much he helped the BJP in 2008 government formation. “I would have been better off as an independent,” he remarked to media persons.

Thippareddy told media persons that he was pretty upset as also some other members too for being ignored in the ministry formation.  All the disgruntled MLAs are in touch with each other and would decide on the next course of action. They could go in a delegation to Delhi to appeal to the leadership.

Supporters of Thippareddy held protests in Chitradurga town, where set fire to buntings and tyres.

Abhay Patil, another disappointed MLA did attend the swearing in ceremony, but did not hide his sadness for being overlooked for being sworn in as a minister. He conceded that he was expecting to be made a minister.

Another very senior MLA S Angara wondered why loyalists like him were being ignored by the party leadership. He recalled the promise made to him earlier when Sadananda Gowda was the chief minister and thought his time had come now. “What can I say if loyalists are ignored,” he rued.

For over one year, the Congress-JD (S) coalition government was tottering on the brink as it was skating with thin numbers. The situation of the BJP is also not very different as few MLAs can make a difference in the number game.

Congress party spokesperson Brijesh Kallappa could not resist to quip within minutes of BJP MLAs venting their ire on television. “ Boy! That was quick!! The BSY Cabinet expansion took place finally after 3 weeks today and dissidence erupted almost instantaneously. Rebel Legislators are planning to meet later today to chalk out strategies...,” Kallappa tweeted.

What this open expression of disgruntlement of BJP MLAs in Karnataka means is that even the Yediyurappa government would also be facing troubled time and fighting for survival. And the newly formed government could be instable.

Yediyurappa became the chief minister on July 23 after the Congress -JD (S) government fell on the floor of the house. Since then, till the swearing of council of ministers today, Yediyurappa was handling all the ministries.

Now, there is another interesting element of the fate of disqualified Congress and JD (S) MLAs, now hanging in the Supreme Court.  Till the Apex court decides one way or the other, the uncertainty would continue. The BJP would later induct more MLAs, possibly after the fate of the MLAs is decided said a political analyst.

The BJP has 105 members in the house with a strength of 207. Seventeen MLAs had resigned which brought the magic number down to 104, allowing the BJP government to prove its majority on the floor of the house.

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