Over two dozen senior BJP leaders skip K’taka CM’s dinner
Bengaluru: Discontent within the BJP in Karnataka has taken a shape of “insider vs outsider” battle with over 25 party MLAs – most of them long-standing party leaders – skipping the dinner party hosted by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa during the ongoing seven day legislature session.
Yediyurappa has had been under tremendous pressure from various groups within the party, after 17 defectors joined the BJP to bring it back to power in the state.
These 17 defectors had been seeking their share of flesh by demanding “plum portfolios” while the original BJP legislators feel they have been deprived of their “rightful share” in power.
The Yediyurappa-led 18-month-old government was reshuffled on January 14 for the third time and within 72 hours of carrying out a minor reshuffle, he had to reallocate portfolios almost three times among his disgruntled ministers.
But, several BJP legislators have been seething with anger too and even party’s chief whip and Karkala MLA Sunil Kumar openly writing a letter to state party President, Nalin Kumar Kateel instead of to Yediyurappa, shows that the Karnataka BJP is facing an “insider vs outsider” problem.
In a bid to stem this rebellion, Yediyurappa had hosted a dinner party for BJP legislators on Tuesday evening at his official residence ‘Cauvery’ near the Karnataka Golf Course.
The dinner meeting, however, given a miss by several of the miffed MLAs, who included former Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy, S.A. Ramadas, Sunil Kumar, Arvind Bellad and others.
Yediyurappa’s bete noire, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, not only skipped the dinner meeting but also thundered that the Chief Minister be replaced soon and a leader from north Karnataka will take the reins of state.
Party insiders told IANS that those who were in attendance asked for specific projects to be granted to their constituencies, more funds to be released and most of all, increased access to the CMO. While Yediyurappa heard the demands patiently, he has not committed to all of them but promised to look into it, the source said.
Of BJP’s 118 legislators, just over 80 were in attendance, a sign that the intention of the meeting did not serve its original purpose, another source told IANS.
While a few of the legislators skipped the meet due to prior commitments or because they were travelling, others chose to send a clear message through their absence.
Several of the MLAs, like Madhuswamy, have been alleging that they were insulted by the Cabinet expansion, either at not being given a berth or because they were not allowed a portfolio of their choice. Several others continue to accuse Yediyurappa of allowing too much freedom and giving undue attention to the legislators who joined BJP either from Congress or the JD-S in 2019.