Yediyurappa, a chief minister without ministers

Left to himself, BS Yediyurappa would perhaps prefer this arrangement. A one-man show where there is no one to disagree with him. It has been three weeks since Yediyurappa was sworn in as chief minister of Karnataka on 26 July but the council of ministers is yet to take shape. A bit like a king without a durbar. 

But that has not prevented him from holding four cabinet meetings so far where he has been obviously the sole minister present. The others present include the bureaucrats led by the chief secretary. During these meetings, he has taken unilateral decisions relating to funds disbursal for fishermen, weavers and farmers.

The lack of a cabinet has come in for criticism from the opposition who say it has affected flood relief work with no political leadership to take charge in the districts. This has also meant gimmicks by ministerial aspirants like Honnali MLA Renukacharya whose attempt to navigate a coracle in flood waters was a big flop. 

BSY has not been able to form his cabinet because his list has not yet been cleared by the BJP leadership. Party president Amit Shah has been very busy piloting the Kashmir bill in Parliament and therefore Karnataka has not been on his radar.  

The opposition JD(S) has taken to lampooning the single man cabinet functioning in Karnataka. Yediyurappa Cabinet Yellappa means Yediyurappa, where is the cabinet.

But it is not as if BSY is the only one to run a government of this kind. In neighouring Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao was sworn in as chief minister on 13 December 2018 and he took oath with just one more minister, Mahmood Ali who was made Home minister. KCR expanded the cabinet only after nine weeks on 19 February 2019. During this period too, much like Karnataka, bureaucrats ran the administration. 

In states where the chief minister is a strong political personality, the council of ministers hardly seems to matter. In Andhra Pradesh, Jaganmohan Reddy has already conveyed to his cabinet that most of them will have to make way for other MLAs to become ministers after two and a half years. 

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