Within 24 hours of allocating portfolios to the State’s newly inducted Ministers, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa yielded to pressure and modified some of them on Tuesday, to placate those who were upset over not getting “prominent” portfolios.
According to sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party, the changes in portfolios came after most of the new Ministers met the Chief Minister at his residence in Bengaluru on Monday night and, during a marathon meeting, expressed displeasure over the “raw deal” meted out to them. The grapevine has it that some of them even told the Chief Minister that they would rather continue as just MLAs if they were not given “good portfolios”.
Only three of the 10 newly inducted Ministers had got prominent portfolios in Monday’s allocation. This left the others anguished.
“Though the Chief Minister did not yield to their pressure by providing the portfolios of their choice to all the new Ministers, he agreed to effect certain modifications to assuage their hurt feelings,” a senior BJP leader said.
The major change in portfolio was that of B.C. Patil, who has now been given the Agriculture portfolio instead of Forest. In fact, the Agriculture Department had been taken away from Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi and given to Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai as an additional charge only on Monday.
The Small Scale Industries and Sugar portfolios, which had been allotted to K. Gopalaiah, have been withdrawn, and he has now been allotted the Food and Civil Supplies portfolio, which had been given to Anand Singh on Monday. Mr. Singh has now been given Forest, Ecology and Environment, which had earlier been given to C.C. Patil, who also holds the Mines and Geology portfolio.
Shivaram Hebbar, who had been allotted the Labour portfolio, has also got Sugar now. Shrimant Balasaheb Patil has been given the additional portfolio of Minority Welfare, which had been with Animal Husbandry Ministry Prabhu Chavan.
Urban Development Minister B.A. Basavaraj too has something to cheer about, as his portfolio has been strengthened with the addition of Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board and Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation to it.
The Chief Minister will keep the Small Scale Industries portfolio with him, along with several other key departments.
Four newly inducted Ministers were kept out of the rejig. While Major Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has been untouched, the demands of Cooperation Minister S.T. Somashekhar and Medical Education Minister D. Sudhakar for grant of portfolios of their choice have not been met.
Sources in the party said the Chief Minister has assured Mr. Somashekhar and Dr. Sudhakar of considering their demands in the coming days. Similarly, there are no changes to the allocation to K.C. Narayana Gowda.