Voices of discontent have emerged within the Karnataka BJP just hours after chief minister Basavaraj Bommai inducted 29 ministers in his first cabinet expansion.
While several ministerial aspirants have expressed displeasure over their exclusion from the new cabinet, many party supporters are unhappy since 13 districts did not get any representation in the new government.
Former ministers who didn’t make it to the new cabinet include Jagadish Shettar (who had opted out of the ministry citing seniority as a former CM), Suresh Kumar, Laxman Savadi, Arvind Limbavali, Shrimant Patil, R Shankar and C P Yogeshwar.
‘Don’t know what changed’
Upset over not being inducted, Shankar, who is among the legislators who had joined the BJP after quitting the Congress-JD(S) coalition in 2019, said he was surprised as to why he was not made minister “despite assurance”.
However, he also expressed hope about being part of the Ministry in the days to come.
Similarly, Patil, who was made a minister by Yediyurappa after he switched over from the Congress, expressed discontent after being left out of the Bommai cabinet.
SA Ramdas, senior BJP leader and MLA from Krishnaraja constituency in Mysuru district, said he had expected a ministerial post and that the district would get the representation.
“I had got congratulatory messages till last night, but don’t know what changed at the last minute.”
He said Yediyurappa too had told him that he had suggested his name for the minister post.
Hitting out at Bommai for not inducting him, Haveri MLA Neharu Olekar said, “I’m from the SC community. I have got elected three times and despite being a party loyalist, I’m not made minister…the reason for this is because Bommai feels that I’m inferior.”
Stating that neither Yediyurappa nor the high command came to his support, he said “wait and see what will happen in the days to come, I’m talking to my people … but I will not quit the party, will try to bring things to the notice to central leaders and Sangh Parivar leaders.”
There was also unhappiness over 13 districts, including Mysuru, not getting any representation in the new cabinet.
No leader from Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Ramanagara, Kodagu, Raichur, Hassan, Vijayapura, Ballari, Davangere, Kolar, Yadgir, Chikkamagaluru and Chamarajanagara is part of the new cabinet.
Yediyurappa confidant and MLA M P Renukacharya said injustice has been done to Davangere district as there is no representation from the district in the cabinet, and claimed people are pained by it.
“We had asked to make someone among BJP MLAs from the district a minister, but no one was made … I have brought it to the notice of Yediyurappa and the CM,” he said.
Supporters stage protest
Meanwhile, angry supporters of leaders who did not make it to the cabinet staged protests in several districts of the state.
Supporters of Kalaburagi South MLA Dattatraya Chandrashekhar Patil Revoor staged a protest in the city accusing the BJP of not giving adequate representation to Kalyana Karnataka region.
They alleged that their leader’s name was dropped from the list of ministers at the last minute.
Several supporters of Shorapur MLA Narasimha Nayak (Raju Gouda), who had gathered in the city hoping that their leader would become a minister, also staged a protest.
Addressing supporters, Nayak told his supporters that Bommai had called him assuring him a chance next time, but he rejected the offer stating that he will become Minister for full term when the party comes back to power in 2023 polls, and not in this government.
Aland MLA Subhash Guttedar’s supporters staged a protest in the city demanding Minister’s post to their leader, and they were detained by police, while supporters of Arvind Bellad held demonstrations in Hubballi alleging injustice.
Bellad was even seen as a contender to the CM post.
Meanwhile, a person claiming to be a supporter of state BJP vice president B Y Vijayendra, Yediyurappa’s younger son, cut his hand in protest and said he was pained as his leader was not made minister.
“Without Vijayendra … it is not a cabinet,” he said.
Bommai had earlier said he will not have any deputy chief ministers in his cabinet as per the directions of the high command.
Responding to a question on Vijayendra’s induction, earlier today, Bommai had said, “the national president has spoken to Yediyurappa and the national general secretary in charge of Karnataka Arun Singh spoke to Vijayendra personally. I can only say, Vijayendra’s name is not there in the list today.”
(With inputs from PTI)