A fresh episode of political drama unfolded in Karnataka on Monday night as Chikkamagaluru BJP MLA CT Ravi conveyed to the party his decision to resign as a minister. CT Ravi’s decision came just an hour after he was appointed as the Minister for Tourism, Kannada and Culture.
Ravi, like a few others in the cabinet, were upset that the high command had announced the names of Malleshwaram MLA, Dr CN Ashwathnarayana, BJP leader from Athani Laxman Sangappa Savadi and Mudhol MLA Govind Karjol as the three Deputy Chief Ministers.
BJP sources told TNM that CT Ravi had decided to resign from his ministerial post as he felt that he was being sidelined. CT Ravi was unhappy that Malleshwaram MLA, Dr CN Ashwathnarayana had been made Deputy Chief Minister.
CT Ravi, who began his career as a booth level party worker in 1988, had to climb up the ranks for the last 31 years, just to be appointed as a minister. CN Ashwathnaraya on the other hand is a rookie compared to Ravi and this slight, sources say, was why CT Ravi was disappointed.
“CT Ravi had conveyed his decision to Yediyurappa last night (Monday night). Yediyurappa informed the high command and told them that Ravi had to be pacified. That’s when newly appointed National General Secretary BL Santosh intervened,” the BJP source said.
In a late-night phone call that lasted for a couple of hours, BL Santosh, the BJP’s National General Secretary held talks with CT Ravi and pacified the disillusioned leader.
“Dr Ashwathnarayana was chosen as the Vokkaliga face for the party in Bengaluru North area as he is seen as urbane and sophisticated. After the death of Ananth Kumar, the party needed someone to be the face of the party in Bengaluru. Although, CT Ravi is also from the Vokkaliga community, he is not an MLA from the city. The BJP needed Ashwathnarayana to gather support of the huge Vokkaliga population in north Bengaluru,” the source said.
BJP insiders say that Ravi was also unhappy about Laxman Savadi, the former MLA who was caught watching porn, being made Deputy Chief Minister. However, BJP insiders maintain that the high command did not give preference to seniority but to those they believed would work efficiently.
“By giving younger people the chance, they are building loyalty. Savadi and Ashwathnarayana will remain loyal to the party because of the position of power they have been given. BL Santosh explained all of this to CT Ravi and convinced him to refrain from withdrawing,” the source added.
BJP insiders also said that Ashwathnarayana was rewarded for his role in luring MLAs from the Congress and JD(S). BJp sources say that Ashwathnaraya was crucial in ensuring that MLAs from North Bengaluru -- ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, Munirathna and Gopalaiah, resigned from their posts. "He convinced Congress and JD(S) rebels to resign and fly to Mumbai. He had to be rewarded," the source added.
Speaking to TNM, CT Ravi said that he was not resigning from his ministerial post and that he would remain loyal to the BJP.
“Some news channels were saying that I am not loyal to my party. Neither have I ever begged anyone for power nor do I believe that power is the way to earn the respect of people. I was an ordinary karyakarta in 1988 and the party has nurtured me. My loyalty to the BJP is my biggest strength and my biggest weakness. To those who are suspecting that I am indulging in opportunistic politics, I have to say that I never indulge in such activities. I have been given a portfolio and I will do my duty and serve the people,” CT Ravi said.