CM Basavaraj Bommai to leave for Delhi today to meet BJP bosses to quell displeasure among ministers on portfolios

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will leave Wednesday for Delhi on a two-day visit as part of his efforts to quell a brewing dissatisfaction among a section of his Cabinet colleagues with their portfolios.

Bommai will meet national president JP Nadda, and general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh, among other national leaders. The chief minister, in a chat with the media, however, projected meetings with legal experts on inter-state river water issues, and other union ministers on administrative issues as the main focus of his Delhi trip.

Four ministers have been upset with the portfolios they have got and are vocal about it as well. Vijayanagar MLA Anand Singh took charge as tourism and environment minister only on Tuesday — almost three weeks after being sworn in –only at the nudging of the chief minister and BJP state president Nalinkumar Kateel. He agreed to assume office only after Bommai promised to address his woes.

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“I took charge today only after their assurance. The CM has promised to address all grievances during his trip to Delhi,” the tourism minister said.

The chief minister’s Delhi trip is being keenly watched within the state BJP as Singh could go as far as resigning his Assembly membership if the party did not meet his demand. The chief minister is expected to meet home minister Amit Shah and party general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh, though he has not said so openly.

Singh remains firm this time though the previous BS Yediyurappa regime met his demand for carving out a separate Vijayanagar district out of Ballari. Two weeks ago, he said: “My decision could even end my political career,” in a hint of resigning his assembly membership.

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Transport minister B Sriramulu and municipal administration minister MTB Nagaraj openly expressed their displeasure. Singh and Nagaraj are among the 17 MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) who pulled down the previous non-BJP coalition regime and helped BS Yediyurappa form the government in July 2019.

“Previous CM BSY jii and present CM Basavaraj Bommai ji have not kept their word. I am not happy with the allotted portfolio,” Nagaraj tweeted soon after the portfolios were assigned.

Sriramulu, a senior BJP leader, was hoping to become a deputy CM with two portfolios. But he not only remains a cabinet minister, but with just one portfolio. He has been pressing for another department.

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Muzrai, Wakf and Haj minister Shashikala Jolle has urged the party leaders to return the women & child development department, the portfolio she held under Yediyurappa.

The BJP sources said the chief minister was setting the ball rolling, and any rejig in portfolios would happen only after the assembly session is over next month. Bommai is also said to have inquired with a colleague or two if they would have issues if their portfolios were assigned to others.

The chief minister does not want the proposed portfolio rejig to leave a few other ministers, who are going about their job peacefully, displeased.

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It may be recalled Yediyurappa had, as chief minister a few months ago, changed cabinet portfolios of some of his colleagues thrice in a space of two days.

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