BENGALURU: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai now heads a Cabinet, half of which are Lingayat (10) and Vokkaliga (7) legislators. A Lingayat himself, Bommai has inducted nine Lingayats (10 including himself), seven Vokkaligas, seven OBCs, three SCs, two Brahmins, and one ST. While seven ministers are from Bengaluru, 13 districts — Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Vijayapura, Ballari, Davanagere, Hassan, Ramanagara, Kolar, Chikkamagaluru, Mysuru, Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburagi — are unrepresented in the cabinet.
Bommai’s Cabinet is similar to B S Yediyurappa’s ministry in terms of caste-regional imbalance. While Yediyurappa’s Cabinet had eight ministers from Bengaluru, the new Cabinet has seven. While there were seven Vokkaligas in the previous ministry, there are nine now. Also, there are two Brahmins in the Bommai Cabinet similar to that of his predecessor’s team. During Yediyurappa’s tenure, 14 districts did not have representation in the cabinet. Nippani MLA Shashikala Jolle is the only woman to have found a place in both the cabinets.
Speaking to TNIE, a senior BJP leader said that when the high command wanted to replace Yediyurappa, a Lingayat strongman, there was apprehension in the party of losing Lingayat votes. However, the top brass played its cards smartly by making Bommai, also a Lingayat and a close aide of Yediyurappa, the CM. The party also inducted eight more Lingayats as ministers, thus trying to safeguard its vote bank.With seven Vokkaligas as ministers, the BJP has largely kept them happy too.