Even as the dissidence over portfolio allocation is yet to die down completely in the CM Bommai-led government in Karnataka, fresh differences have come to the fore among the BJP leaders. This time it is for the post of Bengaluru Development Ministry.
Senior ministers like V Somanna, ST Somashekar, Ashwath Narayan are openly vying to be the Bengaluru district in-charge minister.
The Bengaluru Development is a much-coveted portfolio. For many years it has always been with the Chief Minister to avoid infighting among the Bengaluru MLAs. Bommai too has kept the crucial portfolio with him since he replaced BS Yediyurappa as the CM.
But now, R Ashoka, Dr Ashwath Narayan, V Somanna, ST Somashekar are said to be eyeing the portfolio in the Bommai government.
R Ashoka who was allotted the Revenue portfolio in August 2021, was also made in-charge of COVID management in Bengaluru.
On September 10, 2021, Bommai announced the names of several ministers for various districts to implement the ‘Amrit’ schemes which was announced to mark the platinum jubilee celebration of India’s independence. R Ashoka has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of schemes in Bengaluru.
It effectively made R Ashoka the in-charge of Bengaluru Development. The Bengaluru ministers and MLAs have alleged that since then Ashoka has been holding meetings with officials of various departments without inviting the local MLAs. It has not gone down well with the other ministers who have complained to CM Bommai.
Reacting to the issue, Housing Minister V Somanna said that Chief Minister Bommai will address the issue in the next few days.
“It is the discretion of the Chief Minister to allot portfolios. CM will consider experience before allotting important portfolios like Bengaluru Development. I have been in politics for 40 years and have the capability to handle the portfolio. I had invited R Ashoka for the meeting but he did not attend it. It’s his loss. I am the senior-most leader. Currently, there is no Bengaluru-Development Minister, R Ashoka is only for COVID management. In the next few days things will be clear,” Somanna said.
Replying to Somanna, R Ashoka spoke to TV9 Kannada and said that he doesn’t mind even if the Bengaluru Development is given to somebody else.
“I have seen Somanna’s comments in the media. He has not spoken anything against me. I have not asked CM to make me in charge of any particular district. It is left to the CM. I could not attend the meeting today due to pre-decided engagements. There is no difference between us. Irrespective of who gets the Bengaluru Development portfolio, we will all work together,” Ashoka said.
Reacting to the ongoing tension between the senior ministers, the CM said a decision will be taken after consultation with all the cabinet colleagues.
“We will soon decide on who will get which district in-charge. A decision will be taken after discussing the issue with my cabinet colleagues. All the leaders are working hard. We will take the right decision without hurting anyone,” Bommai