Three Deputy Chief Ministers for Karnataka? BJP's please-all-formula

In a tough-balancing act, the BJP is likely to choose three Deputy CMs, but the question is which faction would end up getting disappointed?
Three Deputy Chief Ministers for Karnataka? BJP's please-all-formula
Three Deputy Chief Ministers for Karnataka? BJP's please-all-formula
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Is Karnataka going to have three Deputy Chief Ministers? Speculation is rife in the Karnataka BJP that the party’s national leaders are mulling over appointing three Deputy Chief Ministers in the state, much like the Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy who appointed five Deputy CMs.

Speaking to the media, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said, “The allocation of portfolios will be decided by the high command on Monday (August 26). There will be a Deputy CM, but the high command will decide how many Deputy Chief Ministers to appoint,” Yediyurappa told the media on Sunday.

The portfolio allocation was slated to occur on Sunday. However, with the demise of former Union Minister Arun Jaitley, the BJP high command has postponed it.

Sources close to the BJP’s central leadership say that the high command had initially recommended appointing BJP leader from Athani in Belagavi, Laxman Savadi as the Deputy Chief Minister. Savadi, who once became infamous after having caught watching porn while the assembly session was on, lost the assembly elections in 2018. He has however been sworn in as minister, much to the dislike of leaders like Umesh Katti, a senior leader from Belagavi.

However, the on-going tussle between Yediyurappa and BJP’s National general Secretary BL Santosh, has resulted in the high command mulling over appointing three Deputy Chief Ministers, in a bid to keep both happy.

BJP insiders maintain that BL Santosh has advised the national leaders that by appointing Savadi as the DCM, the party would be able to ensure that someone will watch over Yediyurappa. However, this could in turn create disillusionment among seniors in the party’s state unit.

“Yediyurappa wanted Govind Karjol or R Ashok or Arvind Limbavalli to get the DCM post. But the national leaders want their candidate to ensure that Yediyurappa is not given a free reign. This is being done as a precautionary measure since Yediyurappa has in the past broken up the party in Karnataka and rebelled against the national leadership. Party needs to think of who next too,” the source said.

BJP sources say that currently many names are in the reckoning- Laxman Savadi as the one to represent the Lingayat community, Govind Karjol from the Dalit community and CN Ashwathnarayana from the Vokkaliga community are the primary contenders. B Sriramulu's (Valmiki Nayak community) name too is doing the rounds. 

“Karjol is very likely to get the DCM post because he is too senior a leader to ignore. But if the high command appoints all three Deputy Chief Minsters now, the Jarkiholis will be unhappy. Ramesh Jarkiholi (Congress MLA who resigned in the recent rebellion) was promised a DCM post when he resigned as the Gokak MLA. But the high command cannot decide on the Jarkiholi issue unless bye-polls happen,” the source said.

In addition, party seniors TNM spoke to say that Savadi and Ashwathnarayana are juniors, who have never been made ministers in the past and giving them the DCM post would be construed as an insult to seniors, who have been loyal to the party.

“Sriramulu has been a minister and so has Govind Karjol, they have experience. But Savadi and Ashwathnarayana are being chosen to watch over Yediyurappa and the seniors. This is why many leaders are not happy about the choice,” the source added.

Yediyurappa is expected to announce the portfolios by August 27 and sources say that Chief Minister is determined to persuade the high command to not ignore the demands of senior leaders. 

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