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HomePoliticsBJP MLAs claim Yediyurappa was blackmailed, rebel against latest Karnataka cabinet expansion

BJP MLAs claim Yediyurappa was blackmailed, rebel against latest Karnataka cabinet expansion

Days after cabinet expansion, about a dozen MLAs claim Yediyurappa was 'blackmailed with a sleazy CD'. Karnataka CM says rebel MLAs can take issue up with BJP high command.

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Bengaluru: Two days after Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa expanded his cabinet with his own choice of ministers, around a dozen MLAs have now mounted a rebellion against him, with seven of them openly expressing their dissatisfaction.

The dissident MLAs have alleged that the CM was “blackmailed with a CD” into giving cabinet berths to a few MLAs. They have also warned that they could “revolt” if their demands are not met. 

All these MLAs have sought an appointment with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to complain against Yediyurappa’s choice of ministers. They’re, however, yet to get an appointment.

“We are waiting for Amit Shah ji to give us some time. We have expressed our wish to meet him. We are yet to get his time,” Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy, one of the first legislators to raise voice against the cabinet expansion, told ThePrint.

Reddy said he expressed disappointment on the day of the induction ceremony itself. He even sent a two-page letter to the BJP high command, accusing Yediyurappa of favouritism and falling prey to illegal tactics by aspiring ministers. 

Yediyurappa, however, lashed out at the rebel MLAs, saying they’re free to complain to the BJP high command if they’re discontent with the cabinet expansion.

Shah is scheduled to visit Karnataka on 16-17 January.

A state BJP functionary said Shah will have meetings with senior leaders of four districts to discuss the strategy for the 2023 assembly elections. 

He will also be inaugurating a series of development projects and meet senior police officers and leaders at Vidhana Soudha, the functionary said. 

Also read: Yediyurappa again announces cabinet expansion, 4th in a year, as discontent grows in BJP

‘Basis to get a ministerial berth is now blackmail’

Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal, one of the most vocal ‘rebel’ MLAs from the BJP, told ThePrint, “We will be talking to Amit Shah ji about how Channapatna MLA C.P. Yogeshwar used a CD to blackmail the CM into giving him a cabinet berth.”

“The basis to get a ministerial berth is now blackmail. There are two types of quota — CD quota and CD plus money quota,” he alleged. 

Speaking to ThePrint, another dissenting BJP MLA, A.H. Vishwanath, who had defected from the JD(S), called Yogeshwar a “big fraud”. 

He alleged that not only did Yogeshwar blackmail and arm twist senior readers to clear his name as a cabinet minister, but he also has several criminal cases against him. 

ThePrint reached Yogeshwar through phone calls and messages for a comment on the allegations, but there was no response till the publishing of this report.

Talking to reporters Thursday, Yediyurappa hit out at the rebel legislators, saying that if they are “really disappointed” with his choice of cabinet ministers, they are free to meet all senior leaders in Delhi and complain. 

“It is extremely disappointing that they went to the media to cause further confusion and show dissidence. What they have done is damaging to the party’s ideology,” he told reporters Thursday. 

The ‘CD’

While the content of this alleged ‘blackmail’ CD is not known yet, Yatnal, Bijapur city MLA, claimed it’s a “sleazy CD”.

Yatnal claimed the CD was in the possession of Yediyurappa’s grand nephew, N.R. Santosh, who is also the CM’s political secretary, as well as Yogeshwar, which was used to get a cabinet berth. 

Yatnal further claimed that one of CM’s relatives, along with a couple of MLAs, had met him at a guest house in Nelamangala on the outskirts of Bengaluru to get his support in the conspiracy to oust Yediyurappa.

“Two of those who met me have managed to get inducted this time. What does that mean?” Yatnal told ThePrint.

Also read: Karnataka state welfare department set to open govt-run salons to fight caste discrimination

MLAs rant on Twitter

Seven MLAs have communicated their anger against not being included in the cabinet on social media, saying that Yediyurappa had succumbed to “blackmailing” rather than focusing on giving seniority and loyalty its due credit.

Former minister and Mysuru MLA S.A. Ramadass tweeted earlier this week that he had spent 28 years as a loyal BJP worker. He considered the BJP as his mother and it is not in his blood to use “other” methods to become a minister.

Kalakappa Bandi, the MLA from Ron, tweeted that the cabinet expansion criteria needs to be reassessed.

Abhay Patil, MLA from Belagavi (South), also expressed his unhappiness over the cabinet expansion. 

Not just MLAs, Yediyurappa’s choice of names for the cabinet ministers was also opposed by the state government’s chief whip in the assembly, Sunil Kumar Karkala. 

The CM’s political secretary Renukacharya also disapproved of his choices.

“I will decide when the time is right. I have communicated to the CM that cabinet berths should have been given to other districts as well, and not just the ones that are going to elections soon,” he told ThePrint. 

‘CM must file police complaint against blackmailing’

Reacting to the development, opposition leader and former CM Siddaramaiah dared Yediyurappa to file a police complaint against those blackmailing him. 

He said if the CD is fake, as the CM has claimed, then he should immediately alert the police to “reveal the truth”. 

“There could be an iota of truth in it as the issue has been raised by the BJP party men. It’s been only a week and the CM has fallen prey to blackmail. There should be no tolerance to such tactics, be it in any political party,” Siddaramaiah told reporters Thursday. 

Also read: Yediyurappa welcomes Elon Musk’s Tesla to India, then deletes tweet a few hours later


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