Chief minister (CM), B Yediyurappa, who had to grapple for long with the issue of satisfying the new ministers and the long-time loyalists in the party, had heaved a sigh of relief after finally having his say in giving ministries to disqualified legislators who won the bypolls. But he finds himself mired in another problem now as the new ministers also want to be made in-charge ministers of the districts of their choice. This demand has once again given rise to friction between the loyalists and the newcomers.
After a long-drawn process of convincing the ‘original’ BJP men and the central leadership about the need to accommodate all the winning MLAs, Yediyurappa had allotted ministries to the newly sworn in minsters. But even though it has been a month since these newcomers were made ministers, they have not been given charges of the districts. Currently, 12 out of 17 ministers who were initially sworn in as cabinet colleagues of Yediyurappa hold charges of two districts each. Most of them are influential and are prepared to divest charges of the districts other then their home districts. But several of the new ministers also hail from the home districts of these ministers, and therefore, the issue has become tricky.
Ministers Ashwath Narayan, Laxamn Savadi, Govind Karjol, Jagadish Shettar, Eshwarappa, Basavaraj Bommai, R Ashok, J C Madhuswamy, C C Patil, B Sriramulu, V Somanna and Prabhu Chauhan hold charges of two districts each.
There is good demand for districts that are adjacent to Bengaluru. For example, deputy chief minister, Ashwath Narayan, is in charge of Ramanagara and Chikkaballapur districts, and both these districts are in high demand. Ashok is in charge of Mandya and Bengaluru rural districts but at least three ministers are eying Bengaluru rural district, as per information. Narayana Gowda, native of Mandya, is believed to have demanded to be made in-charge of that district. If these demands of new minsters are met, Ashok and Ashwath Narayan might be left without the charge of any of the districts.
Home minister, Basavaraj Bommai, holds charge of Udupi and Haveri districts, Even though Haveri happens to be Bommai’s home district, newly inducted minister, B C Patil, is desirous of becoming in-charge of Haveri district. If his demand is honoured, Basavaraj Bommai might lose his home district. Shivaram Hebbar is asking to be made in-charge of Uttara Kannada district which is currently held by Shashikala Jolle. Anand Singh wants to be made minister for Ballari which is currently with Savadi. Ramesh Jarkiholi wants to be made in-charge of Belagavi, and also has been trying to make his associate, Shrimant Patil, in-charge of Yadagiri or Vijayapura districts.
A clear picture about which of the ministers will lose hold on their home districts will emerge in a few days, sources said. Whether this will give rise to heartburns and turmoil within the party will be known only after this exercise is completed.