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Amid reports of rumblings within BJP, Basavaraj Bommai says no confusion regarding portfolio allocation

On Sunday, MTB Nagaraj and Anand Singh had met the Karnataka CM and reportedly said if they are not allocated portfolios of their choice, then they would drop out of the cabinet.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 12, 2021 12:17:40 pm
Basavaraj BommaiKarnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with newly inducted ministers during the swearing-in ceremony (File/PTI)

Amid reports of political rumblings within the BJP ever since the cabinet expansion exercise took place, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said that there is no confusion regarding portfolio allocation in the state.

Days after Bommai distributed portfolios to his cabinet members, MTB Nagaraj and Anand Singh had openly stated their unhappiness over the portfolios allocated to them. On Sunday, Nagaraj and Singh had met Bommai and reportedly said if they are not allocated portfolios of their choice, then they would drop out of the cabinet.

The Chief Minister further said that the cabinet expansion exercise has been carried out under “special circumstances”. “There are no confusions regarding portfolio allocation. Anand Singh had come yesterday (Sunday), I have spoken to him, I have told him several things and he is satisfied. I will call him a couple of days later and speak to him once again. There is no confusion in any way,” Bommai said in Mysuru on Monday.

Sources in the Karnataka BJP told Indianexpress.com that Nagraj and Singh — both turncoats who had joined BJP in 2019 — wanted plum portfolios in the newly formed cabinet under the leadership of Bommai. “They have told the chief minister and other top leaders in the party that they were unhappy. Talks are going on with them to resolve the issue,” a BJP leader said on the condition of anonymity.

Nagaraj has been allotted the municipal administration, small scale and public sector industries portfolio, while Anand Singh has been given tourism, ecology and environment portfolios in the cabinet.

Nagaraj on Sunday said that he was a housing minister in the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government and was hoping to get the same portfolio or a better one.

During the cabinet expansion last week, Bommai had inducted 29 ministers and allocated portfolios to them.

Apart from R Shankar and Shrimant Patil, all the defectors who from Congress and JD(S) had joined BJP in 2019 and were part of the earlier cabinet, have been retained.

But the rumblings have refused to die down since then, with Satish Reddy, the BJP MLA from Bommanahalli in Bengaluru city, saying that workers were openly stating that ‘outsiders’ were given all the opportunities within the party and the core MLAs were left out.

Speaking to Indianexpress.com, another senior BJP functionary said, “Yediyurappa has ensured that all who have helped him to come to power continue to be rewarded in the cabinet. This has, of course, led to some rumblings within the party, but much of this will settle down within a few days. Senior leaders are working on this.”

In another development, party sources said that former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, who had resigned over the alleged sex CD scandal, on Sunday met former minister Jagadish Shetter, who was dropped from cabinet after the recent rejig.

Sources said Shetter is reportedly unhappy with Bommai, who is younger than him, becoming CM and also not giving him a position in his new cabinet.

During their meeting in Hubballi, Jarkiholi and Shetter discussed about cabinet expansion and other political developments for more than half an hour, sources said.

Ever since the cabinet expansion exercise, Shetter’s residence in Hubballi has been a hub of political developments, with various BJP leaders meeting the veteran BJP leader.

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