BENGALURU: Before the cold war between his ministers, especially those hailing from same communities or districts, could reach a boiling point, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has taken his best shot at peace by appointing district-in-charge ministers. In choosing to keep the coveted Bengaluru Urban district with himself, the CM has also attempted to avoid a full-blown battle between two key cabinet colleagues from the city- Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan and Revenue Minister R Ashok.
Also, in an evident attempt to keep Sriramulu- whose association with Janardhana Reddy is no secret- away from his home turf of Ballari, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi has been given charge of the district.
Yediyurappa, who could not have his say in portfolio allocation with the BJP’s Central leadership imposing three deputy Chief Ministers on him, has been firefighting disgruntlement within his 18-member cabinet.
Monday’s appointments have given him the chance to keep the warring factions in check, if not to diffuse the situation completely. Some ministers have been given more than one district as additional responsibility even to convey a message to future ministerial berth aspirants that all is not lost and that their responsibilities await them.
Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol has been given charge of Bagalkot with the additional responsibility of Kalburgi while Dr Ashwath Narayan has been made in-charge of the Vokkaliga-dominant Ramanagara and Chikkaballapur districts. Apart from Ballari, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi will also additionally be in-charge of Koppal.
KS Eshwarappa, as expected has been given charge of Shivamogga but will additionally be in-charge of Davangere. R Ashoka, who fears being replaced by Ashwath Narayana as BJP’s Vokkaliga face in Bengaluru, has been made in-charge of Bengaluru rural with the additional charge of Mandya. The coveted district of Belagavi has been entrusted with Jagadish Shettar who is also additionally in-charge of Hubballi-Dharwad.
Tactfully keeping Sriramulu away from his fort of power- Ballari, Yediyurappa has given assigned him Raichur and Chitradurga where he hopes to emerge as an ST mass leader. Suresh Kumar has been appointed in-charge of Chamarajanagar while another Bengaluru minister V Somanna has been made in-charge of Mysuru with additional charge of Kodagu.
CT Ravi has been appointed in-charge of his home turf Chikkamagalur while Basavraj Bommai is in-charge minister of Udupi with the additional charge of Haveri. Kota Srinivas Poojari will be Dakshin Kannada in-charge minister while JC Madhuswamy was allocated his home turf of Tumakuru along with additional charge of Hassan.
CC Patil will be in-charge minister for Gadag with the additional charge of Vijayapura while independent MLA-turned-minister H Nagesh has been made in-charge of Kolar. First time minister Prabhu Chauhan has been made in-charge minister of Bidar with the additional charge of Yadgir while the lone woman minister in the cabinet, Shashikala Jolle will be in-charge for Uttara Kannada.
Fully aware of the disgruntlement brewing within his cabinet over seniority being trumped by Central leadership’s personal picks, Yediyurappa has tried to keep fresh controversies at bay. While the appointments hope to keep the fire of disgruntlement in the cabinet from rising, it is also aimed at keeping hopes of ministerial aspirants alive.