Bengaluru: Upset with portfolio, minister G T Devegowda claims he will get new one

Bengaluru, Jun 11 (PTI): Karnataka Higher Education Minister GT Devegowda, who is said to be miffed with JD(S) leadership over the portfolio allocated to him, on Monday claimed the Chief Minister and the party had agreed to change his department.

“...farmers and people from our region said if I take up (the Ministry) I will not be able to address their issues, so they pressurised me to change (sic) the portfolio... I did notallow any protest to happen,” Devegowda said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said “last night when I spoke to Kumaranna (Chief Minister Kumaraswamy) he has agreed. Now national President (H D Deve Gowda) and Kumaranna and other leaders sat together, and have agreed to change the portfolio.”

Devegowda, who emerged as a giant killer, defeating former chief minister Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru in the May 12 assembly polls, was said to be eyeing key portfolios, including transport.

Asked what portfolio he was expecting or asked for, Devegowda said, leaders have told him that after discussing withother ministers they will allocate him a portfolio that had not been given yet, and was ‘close’ to farmers.

Maintaining that he had no demand, the minister said he was offered Excise department but he could not accept it as he wanted to be nearer to the farmers’ cause.

“I believe that they will give a suitable portfolio,” he said.

Unhappy over being given the Higher Education department, Devegowda had reportedly said he has studied just till class 8, reacting to which Kumaraswamy, who holds a BSc degree, had said “What have I studied? I’m working as the chief minister.”

The minister said it was not that he was not capable of handling Higher Education, but farmers and people wanted him to serve them first.

Sources said Devegowda was now looking at key Energy portfolio that Chief Minister has retained with him.

Meanwhile, according to sources, Kumaraswamy has managed to pacify C S Puttaraju, who was disgruntled over Minor Irrigation department, by assuring him Mandya district in-charge minister post.

Soon after portfolio allocation June 8, supporters of both Devegowda and Puttaraju held protests in Mysuru and Mandya, the districts they hail from, demanding key portfolios for their leaders.

The development in the JD(S) had come even as dissident activities of the MLAs intensified in the Congress over not getting ministerial berths.