Bengaluru, July 29: Amid new ministry formation buzz, seventy-one years old former deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa has made a curious statement that many changes will take place in the party following Basavaraj Bommai becoming the new chief minister of Karnataka.
"Basavaraja Bommai has just been chosen as the new chief minister. There will be many changes (in the party). Wait and watch," he told reporters yesterday.
Against this backdrop, the seers of backward communities have warned the BJP of grave consequences if Eshwarappa is not given the post of deputy chief minister.
Speaking to reporters, Shantamayya Shivacharya Swamiji said, "Eshwarappa has built the party in Karnataka. He was supposed to be the chief minister, but the central leadership decided otherwise. Therefore, they should give him the post of deputy chief minister. Otherwise, the BJP will face the consequences in the next few days."
Political pundits are linking this statement with 65-year-old former chief minister Jagadish Shettar's decision to opt out of the ministerial race. They are speculating that many senior leaders and non-performing ministers in the previous ministry led by BS Yediyurappa will not get ministerial berths.
It will be a carbon copy of what the central leadership did while reshuffling and expanding the union cabinet, they are claiming.
Shettar decided to opt out of the ministerial race citing his seniority.
"After the assumption of the new Chief Minister ... I have taken the decision not to join the new ministry because I was a former chief minister. Some may argue that I didn't work under BSY's chief ministership. Okay. Since Yediyurappa was senior to me, I worked in his ministry as the revenue minister. Keeping this criterion in view, I have decided to not join the new ministry, the process of which has begun," he said.
Shettar, however, clarified that there was no pressure from the central party leadership, but it was his decision not to join the Bommai-led ministry. "This is my personal decision," he said.
In the previous ministry under the Yediyurappa-led government, Shettar was a cabinet minister holding large and medium scale industries, excluding sugar and public enterprise departments.
Shettar was 21st chief minister of Karnataka from 2012 to 2013.
In July 2012, several BJP MLAs owing allegiance to Yediyurappa called for the replacement of DV Sadananda Gowda with Shettar. After much turmoil, the central leadership agreed to make him the chief minister and was sworn-in on 12 July 2012.
Ahead of Assembly polls held in May 2013, BJP declared Shettar as its chief ministerial candidate but the party failed to retain power and Shettar had to resign. BJP had suffered a massive loss in the May 2013 Assembly elections as the Congress wrested Karnataka.
Shettar also had served as Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative assembly. He was also the Speaker during 2008-2009.