BENGALURU: After maintaining a belligerent stand for three weeks over allocation of portfolio, Tourism Minister Anand Singh made a climbdown on Tuesday. Singh, who was sulking over not getting a portfolio of his choice, gave in to party pressure after some tough talking.
Singh, who had taken oath as minister on August 4, participated in the first cabinet meeting the same day and was in ebullient spirits, but had started sulking since August 7 soon after he was allocated the Tourism, Environment and Ecology portfolio instead of the Forest ministry which he was eyeing. He had even threatened to resign as MLA from Hosapete, ignoring constant overtures from the party. On August 10, he got a signboard in front of his office in Hosapete removed to indicate his displeasure.
Sources said the BJP had warned Singh that it will not tolerate his sulking anymore. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and party state president Nalin Kumar Kateel had asked him to take charge of the allotted ministry immediately. The central leadership had indicated that his demand for a different portfolio could be considered when the cabinet is expanded to include four more ministers, the sources added.
Singh told the media before assuming charge that he had been informed by the CM to take charge immediately and that his appeal to be allocated a better portfolio would be considered at a later stage.
Anand Singh was among the first to resign as MLA in 2019, which led to the exodus of 17 MLAs and brought down the JDS-Congress coalition government a few weeks later. He is a wealthy politician in Karnataka and has been in all three parties and is considered very influential. He was a minister in the 2008-13 BJP government too.
Political observers said Singh’s influence can be gauged from the fact that he was accommodated by the previous CM, B S Yediyurappa, who had even given him the desired Forest portfolio and named him as minister in charge of Ballari district. Not only that, acting on Singh’s demand, the new Vijayanagar district was carved out despite opposition from within the BJP.