Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy has sparked speculation about the possibility of assigning a minister dedicated to oversee the development of Bengaluru.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Reddy said, “Creating the post of Deputy Chief Minister, cabinet expansion is left to the CM and the party high command. But if the cabinet expansion happens, there is a possibility that a separate minister could be appointed for Bangalore’s development.”
It was only at the end of August as the city was to go for civic polls that CM Siddaramaiah told reporters that a minister may be appointed for the city exclusively.
However, the demand for a minister exclusively for the city is not a new one. Former CM S M Krishna held the portfolio of Bengaluru city development, when he became chief minister in 1999. Even an active civic lobby group BPAC has also made similar demands recently.
Speaking in the aftermath of BJP’s victory in the BBMP elections, political scientist Sandeep Shastri told TNM, “An exclusive minister would allow for strategizing and maneuvering on the part of the Congress because otherwise, the BJP would have complete control over the BBMP. It’s an important signal that the party and the government want to send.”
Although the move to have a dedicated minister to oversee the city's development seems like a tactical step on the part of the Congress in its effort to stay politically relevant, Shastri pointed out how it backfired in the case of S M Krishna, when the rural electorate was not welcoming of this.