HARIHAR: Under pressure from various quarters over cabinet expansion, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday lost his cool at a gathering of the Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat Panchamasali Sangha. He was upset when the religious head said that the community would not support him if BJP MLA Murugesh Nirani wasn’t accommodated in the cabinet.
The Chief Minister, who is already being cornered by cabinet aspirants over delay in expansion and a non-responsive central leadership, was pushed over the edge by Panchamasali Gurupeet Vachananda Swamy during the ‘Hara Jatre’ programme in Davanagere.
“Mr Chief Minister, you are a good man. Murugesh Nirani has always backed you. I urge you that you back him now and make him a minister. If you desert Nirani, the entire Panchamasali community will desert you,” said Vachananda Swamy. Yediyurappa instantly stood up, ready to leave the venue. What followed was a public spat between the two with Yediyurappa reminding the seer that suggestions were welcome but he won’t be threatened.
The seer then had to calm himself, the Chief Minister as well as the crowd down but continued to place his demand. He insisted on three MLAs from the community being inducted into the cabinet during expansion. Yediyurappa took his seat but was seen speaking to Murugesh Nirani who was seated a chair away.
Yediyurappa told the seer, “Understand my situation and limitations. I am Chief Minister today, thanks to the sacrifice made by 17 people who resigned as MLAs and ministers. I am here today with the support of Panchamashali community. I am indebted for that. I will sit with the seer and seek suggestions on how to move forward for the next three years. I will pay heed to your suggestion but if you don’t want that, then I will resign right now and walk away.”
Making his case in front of a community that has unanimously backed him, Yediyurappa reminded that in his current tenure immediately after he assumed office, the state faced floods. Over 400 villages and more than 7 lakh hectares of crops got devastated. At the same time he hinted that the financial position of the state was not good and any demands of the community would be addressed during the budget session.
One DCM to be ropped
With BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh coordinating the process of cabinet expansion , 15 MLAs including 11 newly elected legislators are likely to be given berths. This exercise is likely to see one Deputy Chief Minister being dropped from the cabinet