It’s a game of musical chairs as Karnataka CM effects two Cabinet reshuffles in a day
K. Sudhakar and J.C. Madhuswamy have got back the portfolios they were divested of earlier.
The allocation of Cabinet portfolios is turning out to be a game of musical chairs, with Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Monday effecting a reshuffle of portfolios for the fourth time in four days — and for the second on the same day — to quell dissatisfaction among a section of Ministers.
But this failed to resolve the problem completely as a fresh round of dissatisfaction emerged among a few Ministers.
The highlight of Monday’s reshuffle was Health and Family Welfare Minister K. Sudhakar getting back the Medical Education portfolio, which had been taken away from him in the first round of reshuffle. With this, both the Health and Medical Education portfolios continue to be monitored by a common authority.
Mr. Sudhakar had personally pleaded with the Chief Minister to allow him to keep both portfolios for better coordination of COVID-19 measures and to support the vaccination drive.
But this meant the Medical Education Department was taken away from J.C. Madhuswamy, who was already upset over being stripped of the Minor Irrigation and Law portfolios. Though he was given Tourism and Ecology and Environment in phase one of the reshuffle early on Monday, he was said to be very upset over being “ignored” though he played a crucial role in defending the government in the legislature sessions.
In fact, supporters of Mr. Madhuswamy even threatened that he may not wish to continue in the Cabinet if he continued to be “ignored”. Following these developments, the Chief Minister, later in the day, effected one more round of reshuffle in which the portfolios of newly inducted Minister C.P. Yogeshwar and Mr. Madhuswamy were swapped. Now, Mr. Madhuswamy has again been given Minor Irrigation while Mr. Yogeshwar has to be content with Tourism and Environment and Ecology.
In a cascading effect, this has made B.S. Anand Singh, who earlier held the Tourism and Ecology portfolios, unhappy. To placate Mr. Singh, the Chief Minister has given him Infrastructure Development and Haj and Wakf. But that does not appear to have had any impact as Mr. Singh is said to be hurt.
The manner in which the portfolios have been changed back and forth in a short span of time is being seen as an indication of Mr. Yediyurappa losing his grip on the Cabinet. “Perhaps this is the first time the Chief Minister has effected a reshuffle so many times within a short span,” a senior BJP leader observed. Mr. Yediyurappa’s supporters, however, have maintained that it is an indication of the veteran leader’s “accommodative” attitude in a challenging political atmosphere.