Almost six months into his government coming to office, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday, January 24, allocated districts among the Ministers of his Cabinet, of which they will be in-charge, while keeping the key Bengaluru Urban district with himself. Effecting a complete change to the previous BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government, CM Bommai has not assigned any minister their home districts under which their Assembly constituency comes.
While at least two senior ministers â€” Revenue Minister R Ashoka and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy â€” have not been assigned any districts, three Ministers â€” BC Patil, K Gopalaiah and Shankar B Patil Munenakoppa â€” have been allocated two districts each. This is the first time after the Bommai government came to power that each district has got an in-charge Minister, as earlier Ministers were assigned districts only for COVID-19 management and for flag-hoisting at headquarters on Independence Day.
As indicated recently, the Chief Minister, who will complete six months in office on January 28, will continue to remain Minister in-charge for Bengaluru development. This even as senior Minister V Somanna, currently holding the Housing portfolio, had openly expressed his desire to be made in-charge of Bengaluru amid reports that some city legislators and ministers were expressing their reservation internally about a move to give the post to Revenue Minister R Ashoka, considered close to Bommai.
With the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike elections due to take place, it was earlier widely expected that the responsibility of Bengaluru development would be allocated to a senior minister from the city. However, the Chief Minister has retained it like his predecessor BS Yediyurappa did, keeping in view the number of aspirants for it.
Interestingly, B Sriramulu, who represents Molakalmooru Assembly segment in Chitradurga, has got his home district of Ballari; while C N Ashwath Narayana continues as Ramanagra district in-charge, where he seems to be in a turf war with Congress' DK Sivakumar and DK Suresh.
The ministers and districts allocated to them are â€” Govind Karjol (Belagavi), KS Eshwarappa (Chikkamagaluru), V Somanna (Chamarajnagara), Umesh Katti (Vijayapura), S Angara (Udupi), Araga Jnanendra (Tumakuru), CC Patil (Bagalkote), Anand Singh (Koppal), Kota Shrinivas Poojari (Uttara Kannada), Prabhu Chauhan (Yadgir) and Murugesh Nirani (Kalaburagi).
Also, Shivaram Hebbar (Haveri), ST Somashekar (Mysuru), B C Patil (Chitradurga and Gadag), BA Basavaraj (Davangere), K Sudhakar (Bengaluru Rural), K Gopalaiah (Hassan and Mandya), Shashikala Jolle (Vijayanagara), MTB Nagaraj (Chikkaballapura), KC Narayana Gowda (Shivamogga), BC Nagesh (Kodagu), Sunil Kumar (Dakshina Kannada), Halappa Achar (Dharwad), Shankar B Patil Munenakoppa (Raichur and Bidar), and Munirathna (Kolar).
According to party sources, despite demand from several Ministers to be made in-charge of their home districts, the Chief Minister has decided against it while making appointments.
Interestingly, the appointment of district in-charge Ministers has come at a time when Bommai is under pressure from party legislators to expand or rejig his Cabinet. However, there are talks in party circles that the expansion or reshuffle of the Cabinet is likely, only after the Assembly elections in five States. There are currently 30 Ministers in the State Cabinet, including the Chief Minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34.