For now, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa will keep all unallocated portfolios.
It took more than three weeks for the Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa – who took oath on July 26 — to name his cabinet members. It took another six days to decide on the portfolios for the 16 men and one woman who joined the cabinet. The list of ministers announced this evening showed that the state will have no fewer than three deputy chief ministers — Govind Karjol, Dr Ashwath Narayan and Laxman Savadi.
Mr Karjol has been assigned the PWD and social welfare ministries too. Dr Ashwath Narayan, very prominent at the time of the collapse of the coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy, has been given the portfolios of higher education, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science and Technology. The Infotech and biotech portfolio is considered high profile, given Karnataka’s position as a leader in India’s IT space.
Laxman Savadi has been given the transport portfolio. The home department goes to Basavaraj Bommai.
Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar has got the industries portfolio, while Suresh Kumar, a former law minister of the state, will be in charge of primary and secondary education. C T Ravi, known for his right-wing views, is in charge of Tourism, Kannada and Culture.
The only woman in the cabinet, Jolle Shashikala Annasaheb, has been given the Women and Child Development portfolio.
For now, Chief Minister Yediyurappa will keep all unallocated portfolios.
The cabinet expansion has seen ruffled feathers among BJP leaders, who were left out of the first list. Some have openly been critical.
For Mr Yeddiyurappa, the other challenge is to keep the hopes of a cabinet berth alive for 17 disqualified MLAs who effectively brought down the coalition government. The MLAs are seen as expecting a reward in the form of cabinet posts should they win their case against disqualification in the Supreme Court. The 16 vacant berths hold out hope for them.
For a month, during which the parts of the state suffered devastating floods, Mr Yediyurappa ran a “one-man cabinet”. It drew stinging criticism from the opposition Congress which accused him of incompetence.
Mr Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular tweeted: “@BSYBJP While the state is reeling under severe floods, you’ve not formed the cabinet yet,& on a selfish trip to Delhi. Do you get sadistic pleasure by seeing lakhs of people in distress? Is this why you toppled a perfectly functioning govt? To see people suffer? Shame on you!”
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