Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa made another change in the portfolios allocated to his cabinet this evening -- within hours of the last change this afternoon -- to give Former Law Minister J C Madhuswamy the Minor Irrigation department he wanted. Altogether this was the third change in the portfolios of the state cabinet within four days of their being announced. Portfolios were allotted to seven ministers, five of them new, on Thursday.
The reshuffle this afternoon was made to restore the Medical Education portfolio to health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and make a few other changes. The portfolio was restored after Dr K Sudhakar had said that one person should hold both portfolios to ensure better running of the vaccine drive.
Former Law Minister J C Madhuswamy initially had Haj and Wakf department and was put in charge of Tourism, Ecology and Environment ministries this afternoon. Anand Singh got infrastructure development, and Haj and Wakf portfolios.
"It will be easy for a single minister to work in tandem with both Health and Medical Education departments. It is necessary for conducting successful vaccination drive," Dr Sudhakar had said.
"There is a need to merge the departments to eradicate the pandemic. No matter which government is in power, one Minister should handle both the departments," the minister had added, pointing out that the challenge of vaccination is there along with the big challenge of portfolio allocation.
It is expected that the latest change will smooth the ruffled feathers in the cabinet that started after the oath ceremony earlier this month.
On Friday -- just 24 hours after the allotment of portfolios -- a series of changes were made as MTB Nagaraja, K Gopalaiah, JC Madhuswamy and Narayana Gowda became vocal about their discontent.
Most of the new ministers had defected to the BJP from other parties and expected to be rewarded for their role in facilitating Mr Yediyurappa's return to power in 2019.
But their elevation upset the old-timers in the BJP, complicating Mr Yediyurappa's balancing act.
The Chief Minister, who had had consulted Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had encouraged anyone unhappy about being left out of the cabinet to approach the Central leadership.