BENGALURU: With his cabinet of 33 now set, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s next task is already cut out — portfolio allocation. With seven new ministers in the cabinet, Yediyurappa has called for a meeting on senior ministers on Tuesday to hold consultations on portfolio reallocation. While he hopes the process is smooth, unlike the cabinet expansion that ruffled a lot of feathers, the all-important portfolio of Bengaluru Development has too many contenders.
While some of the newcomers are keen that the chief minister will continue to keep the portfolio with himself, sources in the party suggest that one of the BJP old-timers will be given the portfolio as a means of balancing out differences. While there are eight ministers from Bengaluru in the cabinet, three of them — Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, Arvind Limbavali and R Ashok — have emerged top contenders for the portfolio.
Given the mood in the party over newcomers being given the priority, the portfolio reallocation comes as a chance at reconciliation for the chief minister who has been asked to address the party’s concerns and build harmony between the party and the government by Home Minister Amit Shah.
“Some of the key ministries are likely to be reassigned to party old-timers. Apart from Finance, DPAR and Intelligence, BS Yediyurappa is looking to distribute all other portfolios and R Ashok is a frontrunner for the Bengaluru development portfolio,” said a source close to the CM.
“I have a lot of work to do to help farmers. It hasn’t even been a year since I took over this department. Those in charge of additional portfolios may be divested of multiple responsibilities but it is, at the end of it, the chief minister’s call,” said ST Somashekhar, Minister for Cooperation.
The thinking in the CMO seems to be that Dr CN Ashwath Narayan, with his already heavyweight title of DyCM, won’t fit the bill for Bengaluru portfolio. R Ashoka, a senior minister who took a step down from previously being a DyCM or Arvind Limbavali, who waited for a year to be made a minister after playing a key role in wooing coalition MLAs towards BJP, are tough contenders. Given his seniority and loyalty to BS Yediyurappa, Somanna is also in the run.
Meanwhile, MLC-turned-minister CP Yogeshwara is said to be keen on Energy portfolio while Murugesh Nirani has his eyes set on Excise.