BENGALURU: Despite Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s assertion that allocation of portfolios for his cabinet ministers will be done on Friday, there was no word on it till 11.45 pm. For two days, Karnataka has had 29 ministers apart from the CM, but allocation of portfolios was delayed as the list was awaiting clearance. Newly-sworn-in ministers and MLAs made a beeline to Bommai’s R T Nagar residence, anticipating portfolio allocation, even before he returned from Tumakuru late on Friday night.
After his visit to Siddaganaga Mutt in Tumakuru on Friday night, Bommai told the media around 9.45 pm that he will compile the list for portfolio allocation and send it to the Governor as soon as he returns to Bengaluru. Sources close to the CM suggested that the list had been sent beforehand, but it was awaiting clearance from the Governor and, in effect, from the BJP central leadership. Legislators including Balachandra Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathalli and Srimanth Patil along with ministers like V Somanna and Murugesh Nirani were waiting for the CM at his residence and discussion began as soon as Bommai reached home.
“As soon as I reach Bengaluru, I will compile the list and send it to the Governor,” Bommai told the media in Tumakuru. Earlier, he said the process will be completed by end of day.The inability to decide on a balanced list is said to have caused the delay in releasing the final list on ministry allocation. The process of sending the portfolio list to the Governor is merely an ‘intimation’ exercise, and not meant for approval, since it is the Chief Minister who has the constitutional authority to allot ministries.
Even as official word is awaited on portfolio allocation, speculation was already rife. While R Ashoka is touted to get the coveted Bengaluru development portfolio, the department former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had retained, the turncoats from the JDS-Congress combine, who joined the BJP in 2019, are expected to retain their former ministries.
Some of the heavyweight portfolios included Dr K Sudhakar with Medical Education and Health, B C Patil with Agriculture, S T Somashekhar with Cooperation department. Sources in the party suggest that the Sangh has pushed for party and ideological loyalists - many of them debutante ministers - to be given plum portfolios.