NDA Cabinet rejig, a message to BS Yeddyurappa?

Upper hand for Ananth Kumar and followers in reshuffle, Yeddyurappa camp has to stick to state affairs.

Bengaluru: The cabinet reshuffle effected by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Tuesday, seems to have come as a leveller vis-a-vis the internal dynamics of the Bharatiya Janata Party state unit is concerned.

But, considering the number of BJP MPs that the state has and the political significance attached to Karnataka, many state leaders felt that the state should have got more cabinet berths.

Just as the Congress revamped its co-ordination committee to clip the wings of Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, the cabinet reshuffle of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came as a silent message to party state unit president, B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Having given the freedom to Mr Yeddyurappa to oversee state affairs, the party central unit gave a lot more importance to Ananth Kumar and his followers in the reshuffle virtually snubbing the Yeddyurappa camp.

Mr Kumar, perceived to be close to BJP patriarch L.K. Advani, has worked his way through the ranks and now, seems to have won the confidence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in turn handed him the important portfolio, Parliamentary Affairs. Not only that.

The party inducted a Dalit BJP MP from Karnataka, Ramesh Jigajinagi, who is considered close to Mr Kumar. With another Union Minister of State G.M. Siddeshwar, a loyalist of state president B.S. Yeddyurappa, likely to be shown the door due to non-performance, sources said the central leadership has sent a clear signal to Mr Yeddyurappa that he may have a free hand in affairs concerning the state.

But, when it comes to central issues, it may not give credence to his suggestions.
Irrespective of the affiliations of different groups, state leaders felt that the Prime Minister should have given more importance to Karnataka in his cabinet.

"We have 17 MPs which is crucial both from the south Indian and Karnataka point of view. Had he given one or two berths more, it would have sent a different message," a senior leader said.

Not ‘DVS’ enough for Delhi
His detractors in the BJP point out that the leader who once dreamt of becoming Karnataka Milk Federation chairman, could not get more than what he deserved. He became chief minister of Karnataka because B.S. Yeddyurappa wanted him to be. Till then, he did not have the experience of running a government. He was an MP and MLA before that but did not expose himself to the rough and tumble of Delhi politics the way his colleague, Ananth Kumar did.

Mr Gowda was perceived to be a non-performer from day one. He was given railways but within no time, he was stripped of the portfolio. He was a practising lawyer before entering politics. But, his subject knowledge did not help him to liasion with institutions like the Supreme Court.

If one were to go by party sources, lawyer turned politician Arun Jaitley was the one who took major decisions pertaining to the law ministry. Sources attributed his failure to the fact that he could not break the ice between the government and Supreme Court over installing a system for appointing judges.

Ties across parties
His detractors call him an opportunist and an Advani loyalist. But, Mr Kumar proved everyone wrong this time when he got the parliamentary affairs portfolio beside chemicals and fertilisers.

The six-time MP from Bengaluru South who is the one of the very few parliamentary board members, had worked in the past as Bihar and Madhya Pradesh state in-charge. When he was given the chemicals and fertiliser portfolio, everyone thought he had been sidelined.

But his performance as fertiliser minister made the Prime Minister take note and speak about this even in his Mann Ki Baat. Two days back, his ministry slashed the prices of fertilisers and received a positive feedback. Sources said that Mr Kumar enjoys a good rapport with all party leaders.

Many Congress leaders besides those like Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Naveen Patnaik turning up at his daughter’s marriage reception at New Delhi proving beyond doubt the rapport he enjoys beyond party lines. This could be the reason why he has been given the parliamentary affairs portfolio.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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