BENGALURU: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday appointed Minister for Municipal Corporations, Sugar and Cane N Nagaraj (MTB) as in-charge minister for Bengaluru Rural. The responsibility was earlier held by Revenue Minister R Ashoka. The change comes at a time when Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru Rural district are steadily plateauing. Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office suggested that Ashoka pushed for MTB Nagaraj’s appointment as Bengaluru Rural in-charge.
In an official statement on Wednesday evening, Ashoka said he had no objection in handing over charge of Bengaluru Rural district.Nagaraj had publicly expressed disappointment with his portfolio after he was inducted into the cabinet earlier this year. Giving him responsibility of Bengaluru Rural is aimed at placating him for his grouse over his portfolio.
The move is also being seen as Ashoka’s step towards being made in-charge of Bengaluru Urban. Ever since he took charge, Yediyurappa has held on to the coveted Bengaluru Urban district charge. Despite there being more than a dozen ministers from Bengaluru in the cabinet, he refused to hand over charge to anyone.
If Ashoka is made in-charge of Bengaluru, the move will be seen as his reward for standing by Yediyurappa during the leadership controversy in the state party unit. Ashoka and Basavaraj Bommai have repeatedly made statements in support of Yediyurappa, countering murmurs of leadership change in the past few weeks. Senior ministers, including DyCM Dr CN Ashwath Narayan, are hopeful of getting Bengaluru Urban.
In choosing not to react to the change in district responsibility, Ashoka has strengthened speculation that he could be given charge of Bengaluru Urban. If it comes into effect, the move will be construed as CM Yediyurappa’s gesture of standing by those who extend support to him over his baiters.