Karnataka CM meets BJP leaders over portfolio tussle
New Delhi/Bangalore, July 14 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, struggling to allot portfolios to his ministers even two days after taking office, Saturday met his Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in New Delhi to seek their help to end the impasse.
Hectic lobbying for plum departments from various factions in the ruling party is delaying portfolio allotment of BJP's third ministry in four years in the state.
Shettar met BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Murali Manohar Joshi with the list of ministers, the portfolios they were demanding and his suggestions.
He was accompanied by R. Ashoka, one of the two deputy ministers.
Shettar also briefed the party leaders on the brewing dissidence over ministry formation as one legislator has threatened to quit the assembly while another group is chalking out its strategy to get berths.
He, however, sought to play down the portfolio allotment problem.
Shettar told reporters after the meeting that it was a courtesy call on party leaders after taking office and "there is no confusion over portfolio allocation".
The BJP formed the entire ministry, 34-members including the chief minister, in one go Thursday hoping to end dissidence that has plagued it ever since it came to power for the first time in the state in May 2008.
However, its hopes have been dashed.
Halady Srinivas Shetty, representing Kundapura in coastal Karnataka, about 400 km from Bangalore, has announced he will quit the assembly as he was called to Bangalore to take oath but dropped at the last minute.
G. Karunakara Reddy, former minister and brother of jailed mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy, is claiming that he and 20 other party legislators are upset over denial of berths to people who have worked for the party for a long time.
Reddy, who was keeping a low profile since the arrest of his brother, has become active again and told reporters in Bangalore Saturday that "all 21 of us will meet in an undisclosed place to take a decision. We will inform you on July 18 or 19".
Incidentally the presidential poll is on July 19, when the state assembly will also start its monsoon session.
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