Bengaluru: Seventeen disqualified legislators in Karnataka appear to be worried about their future and are concerned over not finding berths in the B S Yediyurappa ministry.
Some of the disqualified legislators, led by Ramesh Jarkiholi, who had raised a banner of revolt against the coalition government headed by former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, rushed to Delhi on Wednesday. The disqualified legislators have been having a series of meetings soon after Yediyurappa expanded his Cabinet by including 17 ministers.
It is widely believed that the vacant positions are meant for those, who helped the BJP in bringing down the coalition government. But the growing unhappiness and dissent in the ruling party over non-inclusion of them in the Cabinet, has left the disqualified legislators jittery. They fear that if the vacant positions are filled up to quell dissent, their chances would become dim. They are still worried even after Yediyurappa reassured some of the disqualified legislators that their interests will be protected.
The disqualified legislators have now decided to meet their counsel in the Supreme Court to try for an early hearing of their petitions, challenging the disqualification by former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar. Those visiting Delhi are likely to meet BJP National President Amit Shah to get an assurance that they would be accommodated in the ministry.
It is learnt that Yediyurappa is very keen on keeping them happy and is likely to depute Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan to help them in Delhi. Dr Ashwath Narayan had helmed together these leaders in Mumbai. He has been tasked earlier also to help those who had rebelled against Kumaraswamy.
Along with Ramesh Jarkhiholi, K Sudhakar, Byrati Basavaraj, S T Somashekar and Mahesh Kumtalli have left for Delhi. Another disqualified legislator Muniratna said that they were going to Delhi to meet their lawyers. The leaders are sure that they would not return to the Congress as they have been expelled by the party. They also are not openly saying that they would join the BJP.
Sudhakar was silent on them meeting BJP High Command. One good news for Yediyurappa was that many of the legislators, who failed to find place in the Cabinet, met the Chief Minister and expressed their unhappiness. Inclusion of Laxman Savadi from Belagavi district, who is not even an MLA, has angered many legislators. Also, Umesh Katti, a strong man from Belagavi, and a member of the Jarkiholi family, which has been having representation in the ministry for the last 15 years, has added fuel to the fire.
Balachandra Jarkiholi, one of the legislators from the family, was sure to be accommodated. However, that did not happen. He said Umesh Katti was senior and should have been in the family. Some people are trying to finish their family but they will not succeed, he added. Umesh Katti denied meeting JD(S) leaders and joining the party. He said he was a ministerial aspirant and his name was dropped at the last minute for reasons not known. JD(S) leader Basavarj Horatti has invited Umesh Katti to return to JD(S).
It is believed that Ramesh Jarkiholi will join the ministry if the Supreme Court nullifies the disqualification. Legislator Renukacharya, one of the Yediyurappa loyalists, expressed his anger over Savadi inclusion and even threatened to quit the Assembly seat. On Tuesday said that he was not unhappy over not finding place in the Cabinet and had claimed that he stayed away from the swearing-in as he was busy with flood relief work.
The disgruntlement had its impact on flood relief work also as K G Bopaiah and Appachu Ranjan from Kodagu district stayed away when the minister was there to review flood relief works. The disgruntlement also has its impact on portfolio allocation. Now, the Chief Minister says that it would be done either on Thursday or Friday.