Cabinet formation: tough challenges before Bommai
B. ARAVINDA SHETTY
Bengaluru: The toughest political challenge ahead for Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to form his cabinet, as he has to appease faction-ridden BJP and to take the instruction from his political guru, beleaguered former Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa before choosing his ‘choice’ in the Cabinet.
The foremost challenge has come from senior and veteran leaders of the BJP. Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and K.S.Eshwarappa, both were the minister in the BSY cabinet, expressed displeasure for overlooking their seniority while appointing Basavaraj Bommai as the Chief Minister. It is a ‘heartburn’ to many senior leaders in the party for choosing ‘outsider’ Bommai to the Chief Minister.
To placate veterans
Mr. Shettar has announced his decision not to join the Bommai cabinet, citing ethical issues. However, sources in BJP maintained that Mr. Shettar was deeply hurt by the decision of party central leadership to choose Bommai for the CM post.
On the other hand, another senior leader K.S.Eshwarappa said that it is left to party high command to give a suitable post to him in the cabinet or in the party. In the alleged audio of BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel, in which he told his supporter that senior ministers Jagadish Shettar and K.S.Eshwarappa will be out from the new cabinet. After his audio went viral, rumors are doing rounds in the party that both veteran leaders are likely to be dropped from the Bommai cabinet.
Several pontiffs of Kuruba Maths visited the residence of Eshwarappa, expressed their solidarity to him, even they openly demanded deputy chief minister post to Eshwarappa. Mr. Bommai has the challenge to convince these two disgruntled leaders during cabinet formation.
According to sources in the party, there will be three deputy chief ministers in the Bommai cabinet from three major communities. From Vokkaliga quota, R.Ashok, Govinda Karjol from SC quota and ST quota B. Sreeramalu will be the deputy chief minister in the Bommai cabinet. Incumbent deputy chief ministers Dr. Ashwathnarayana and Laxman Sawadi are bargaining hard to retaining their post in the new government.
Bombay Friends rallying behind CM
The most interesting thing is how many Bombay friends (17 rebel MLAs of Congress and JD(S) joined BJP after dethroning the HDK government) will be inducted into the Bommai cabinet 9 MLAs who defected to BJP were the ministers in the BSY cabinet and enjoyed plum portfolios. Ramesh Jarakiholi resigns following the sex scandal.
BJP decision-makers and RSS leaders are not keen to induct all ten ministers into the Bommai cabinet. Even BJP insiders have expressed their displeasure for giving plum portfolios to outsiders in the BSY cabinet. It would be the biggest challenge for Mr. Bommai to choose Bombay friends into his cabinet. Sources said that among nine ministers, he would induct only 2 to 3 ministers to his cabinet.
Shremant Patil, B.C.Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, H. Nagesh, Narayanagowda, Gopalaiah, M.T.B. Nagaraj, R. Shankar, Dr. K. Sudhakar, S.T. Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj were the ministers in the BSY cabinet.
In this list, Dr. K.Sudhakar and S.T. Somashekar are likely to induct into the Bommai cabinet considering their performance in the previous government. But it would not be an easy task for the chief minister to drop or pick his choice among Bombay friends. Soon after Mr. Bommai takes oath as CM, Bombay friends rally behind him. They even insisted on former chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa to safeguard their interest in the Bommai cabinet, it was because of their ‘sacrifices,’ the BSY government came to power in 2019.
BSY influence over new cabinet
Besides, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has to heed the dikkat of his political guru and former chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa in forming new cabinet. Mr. Yediyurappa will direct the chief minister to take his men in the cabinet, and he also instructs him not to take his detractors into the new cabinet. Mainly, Mr. Yediyurappa will oppose taking Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Aravind Bellad and C.P. Yogishwar into the new cabinet, all three leaders publicly opposed for continuation of BSY in the CM post.
Party high command say in formation of cabinet
The Chief Minister has to take clearance from the party high command before forming the cabinet. BJP central leadership has to put a stamp on the list that will be submitted by the chief minister.
Sources said that party central leadership would have a significant say in Cabinet expansion. Party national President J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Party National Secretary (organization) B.L. Santhosh will instruct the Chief Minister to induct new and efficient faces to the cabinet by dropping old turks. Mr. Santhosh, known to be betenoire of Yediyrappa, would prevail upon the chief minister to pick young and honest MLAs in the cabinet by doing so he would scuttle the prominence of Mr. Yediyurappa in Bommai government.
Bommai cabinet will be a combination of both experienced and new faces on the line of Narendra Modi cabinet. Party central leadership is keen to provide an opportunity to young faces.
Meanwhile, rebel MLAs who prevailed upon the party central leadership for leadership change in the state are keen to join the Bommai cabinet. Basanagouda Patil and Aravind Bellad are likely to join the Bommai cabinet. Another rebel leader and former minister C.P. Yogishwar will retain his post in the cabinet.
Mr. Bommai will have three deputy chief ministers: Govinda Karjol, R. Ashok, and B.Sreeramalu.
Ministers: Dr. Ashwathnarayana, V.Somanna, S.T. Somshekar, Dr. K.Sudharkar.M.T. Nagaraj, Murugesh Nirani, Aravind Limbavali, S. Angara, S.A. Ramadas, Umesh Katti, Siddu Sawadi, Balachandra Jarakiholi. C.P. Yogishwar, Prabhu Chavan, J.C. Madhuswamy, and Appachu Ranjan.
New faces are P. Rajeev, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Aravind Bellad, Roopali Naik, Poornima, Sunil Kumar, Haladi Shreenivasa Shetty, Thippareddy, Aaraga Jnanendra, Veeranna Charanti Math, Dattatreya Patil, and Anand Mamini.
Who will be out: Jagadish Shettar, K.S.Eshwarappa, Suresh Kumar, Sreenivasa Poojari, Sashikala Jolle, B.C.Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, Gopalaiah, Byrati Basavaraj, H. Nagesh, Anand Singh, R. Shankar, Shreemant Patil, and Narayanagowda.