M A I N   N E W S

Portfolio Allocation
Simmering discontent forces BJP govt to defer move
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 31
Clamour of Independent MLAs for “plum departments” has forced the new BJP government in Karnataka to put off the allocation of portfolios to ministers till the government faces the floor test in the Assembly.

The portfolios to the ministers were withheld when Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and 29 others were sworn in here in a lavish ceremony on the Assembly premises yesterday. The BJP camp had said yesterday that departments would be allocated today.

Chief Minister Yeddyurappa and BJP’s state unit chief Sadananda Gowda today told reporters that portfolios would be assigned to the ministers only after the new government passed the floor test in the Assembly on June 6.

“The Independent MLAs were not satisfied with what was being offered to them. All of them are interested in big departments”, a BJP functionary told this reporter explaining the reason for the delay in the allocation of portfolios.

Yeddyurappa himself would look after all departments till the time the departments could be amicably allocated to the ministers.

It was alleged that the Independent MLAs were demanding important departments such as home, public works, energy, urban development, irrigation and mines.

While the Independent MLAs may be claiming their pound of flesh for giving crucial support to the BJP, some of the saffron party’s own representatives have also gone berserk following the swearing in ceremony yesterday.

Jagadish Shettar, a prominent Lingayat leader from north Karnataka, is one such BJP legislator who is sulking over his non-inclusion in the ministry. He has also spurned the party’s move to make him the Assembly Speaker. Followers of Shettar set up road blockades and pelted buses with stones yesterday in protest against his exclusion from the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the Governor had told the BJP delegation that met him on Friday night that his customary address must be preceded by the party proving its majority in the House. The decision to hold the joint session was taken in a cabinet meeting held soon after the first BJP government in the state was sworn in yesterday by Thakur. The Governor asked the party to prove its majority in the House since the 110-member BJP could cobble up a majority in the 224-member state Assembly only after roping in six Independent MLAs in its favour. The state BJP has taken exception to the Governor’s stance.



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