It’s a game of musical chairs as Karnataka CM carries out two cabinet reshuffles in one day

K. Sudhakar and JC Madhuswamy have recovered the portfolios they had previously parted with.

K. Sudhakar and JC Madhuswamy have recovered the portfolios they had previously parted with.

Allocation of Cabinet portfolios is proving to be a game of musical chairs, with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa carrying out a portfolio reshuffle on Monday for the fourth time in four days – and for the second on the same day – to quell discontent among a section of ministers.

But this did not completely solve the problem as a new wave of discontent emerged among some ministers.

The highlight of Monday’s reshuffle was that Health and Family Welfare Minister K. Sudhakar regained the portfolio of medical education, which was taken from him in the first round of the reshuffle. Thus, the health and medical education portfolios continue to be controlled by a common authority.

Mr. Sudhakar had personally pleaded with the Chief Minister to allow him to retain both portfolios for better coordination of COVID-19 measures and to support the vaccination campaign.

But that meant the medical education department was taken away from JC Madhuswamy, who was already upset at being stripped of the minor irrigation and law portfolios. Although he received tourism and ecology and environment in the first phase of the reshuffle early on Monday, he would have been very upset to have been “ignored” despite playing a crucial role in defending the government during legislative sessions.

In fact, supporters of Mr Madhuswamy even threatened that he would not want to remain in Cabinet if he continued to be “ignored”. Following these developments, the Chief Minister later in the day carried out another round of reshuffle in which the portfolios of newly inducted Minister CP Yogeshwar and Mr Madhuswamy were swapped. Now, Mr. Madhuswamy has again received minor irrigation while Mr. Yogeshwar has to content himself with tourism and environment and ecology.

unhappy singh

In a cascading effect, this has made BS Anand Singh, who previously held the tourism and ecology portfolios, miserable. To appease Mr Singh, the chief minister gave him infrastructure development and Haj and Wakf. But that does not seem to have had an impact since Mr Singh would be injured.

The manner in which the portfolios were changed in a short period of time is seen as an indication that Mr Yediyurappa has lost his grip on the Cabinet. “This may be the first time that the chief minister has reshuffled so often in such a short time,” observed a senior BJP official. Mr Yediyurappa’s supporters, however, argued that it was an indication of the veteran leader’s “accommodating” attitude in a difficult political atmosphere.