BELAGAVI: With cabinet expansion finally on the cards, it has come to light that two of the 11 new MLAs may not be inducted into the Yediyurappa cabinet.
The BJP top leadership seems keen to ignore MLAs Mahesh Kumathalli and Shrimant Patil, but is willing to induct the other nine MLAs. Sources said the party is under immense pressure to include Shrimant Patil, if not Kumathalli.
Kumathalli indicated to TNIE that he may be denied a cabinet berth."The party has already assured cabinet berths to all the BJP MLAs who won the bypolls. And it is the party’s responsibility to induct all of them, as assured. If some of us are dropped, it will send the wrong message," he said.
A visibly upset Kumathalli said that he had stopped bothering about who will make it to the cabinet and who would miss the bus. Tired of the speculation in the media too, he said it would have no effect on him even if he was not inducted. However, he said that none of the ministers who are already in the cabinet should be dropped.
Sources said the BJP was contemplating leaving Kumathalli out, as the cabinet already has several MLAs from the dominant Lingayat community from Belagavi district. Laxman Savadi, a Lingayat from Kumathalli’s Athani constituency, is also one of the three DyCMs.
The BJP is banking on MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi to persuade Kumathalli to be content with the post of president of a state-level board or corporation, which he will finally get. Sources said the party may include Kagwad MLA Shrimant Patil, under pressure from Jarkiholi, though his name was deleted from the list of new ministers. He may find a place under the Maratha quota, which forms a large chunk of population in Belagavi district.
Finally, Belagavi will have five MLAs in the cabinet, even if Kumathalli is sidelined. Eight-time MLA Umesh Katti is said to be in, along with Jarkiholi and Shrimant Patil, while Shashikala Jolle and Laxman Savadi are already part of the cabinet.