Karnataka agriculture minister BC Patil on Friday said that he has the strength and resolve to fulfil the role of a home minister, fuelling speculations of a possible reshuffle of the Basavaraj Bommai-led cabinet.
“I have not thought about it and have left it to the chief minister’s discretion. I have worked in the (police) department for 25 years. If I get the home department, I have the strength to fulfil it,” Patil said.
His statements come amid speculation of a possible cabinet reshuffle and expansion in which key ministers like Araga Jnanendra are expected to face the axe. Even though there has been little movement on the reshuffle, Jnanendra has come under heavy fire from all quarters for his statements in recent past which have been viewed as provocative.
However, Patil added that Jnanendra was doing a good job and “people try to find faults in everything.”
The proposal by Patil also indicates the growing rift within the Bharatiya Janata Party and its government in Karnataka which has moved from one crisis to another ever since it engineered the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy-led Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition in 2019.
Meanwhile, chief minister (CM) Bommai on Friday dismissed reports of any rift within the party. “The unity in the party is stronger compared to what it was earlier. There are no differences in the party. A few issues that had cropped up, have been resolved. We are more united than ever,” the CM said.
However, the saffron party seems unwilling to act against serial dissidents like Basanahouda Patil (Yatnal) — the firebrand legislator from Bijapur (Vijayapura) — whose comments against the government and its senior leadership have been frequent.
The Bommai government has been under extreme pressure as it faces charges of corruption in the 40% commission scandal, allegations of laundering ill-gotten money using cryptocurrencies and fanning communal passions.
There have been demands from several legislators within the BJP to expand the cabinet by filling the five vacancies in the 34-member council of ministers.
Many have argue that since one year is left for the elections, expanding the cabinet now will give the time to those appointed to prove themselves before the polls. However, Bommai has been unable to convince the central leadership to act on the same.