Karnataka cabinet expansion: 10 BJP MLAs, all defectors from Congress, JD(S) take oath as ministers; six berths to remain vacant

  • Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday expanded his six-month-old Cabinet with the induction of ten ministers

  • At present, there are 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34

  • The revolt by the rebels led to collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition Ministry in July last year, paving the way for the formation of the BJP government

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday expanded his six-month-old Cabinet with the induction of ten ministers. The ministers were sworn-in at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan with the Governor Vajubhai Vala administering the oath of office and secrecy.

The Chief Minister had announced on Sunday that 13 BJP leaders, including the 10 MLAs who had defected from the Congress and the JD(S), would take oath on Thursday.  The ten are ST Somashekar (Yeshwantpur constituency), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Anand Singh (Vijayanagar), K Sudhakar (Chickballapur), Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram), A Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapur), BC Patil (Hirekerur), K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), KC Narayana Gowda (KR Pet) and Shrimant Balasaheb Patil (Kagwad).

On Kumathalli, Yediyurappa on Wednesday said "It is difficult to make him (Mahesh Kumathalli) minister now. I will call him and discuss with him. We will try to give him some other responsibility.

Yediyurappa said Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, among the 11 rebel Congress and MLAs who had won on BJP tickets in the December by-elections after being disqualified, was being left out in the second expansion of the six-month-old cabinet.

 Karnataka cabinet expansion: 10 BJP MLAs, all defectors from Congress, JD(S) take oath as ministers; six berths to remain vacant

File image of BS Yediyurappa taking oath as chief minister. PTI

The revolt by the rebels led to the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition Ministry in July last year, paving the way for the formation of the BJP government.

At present, there are 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. Sixteen berths are vacant. Regarding the three other "native BJP leaders" whom he had earlier indicated would be made ministers, Yediyurappa said the party high command has asked him to discuss the matter with them in Delhi.

The Chief Minister had earlier promised ministerial berths to all of them. Another person whom he was keen on making the minister was Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti. However, Katti will also not make it to Yediyurappas cabinet this time. There is no doubt about making Umesh Katti minister. He was also supposed to take oath tomorrow but it has been decided to administer the oath to only 10 MLAs, he said.

Ever since Yediyurappa made an announcement about the cabinet expansion, ministerial aspirants in the party started making a pitch for their case. "Native BJP leaders and another group comprising MLAs from erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region emerged with each demanding ministerial posts.

 

Earlier after Yediyurappa indicated that three 'native BJP' leaders would also be inducted, rumour mills were agog that they could be Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali, Umesh Katti and CP Yogeshwar, who had lost to former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy from Channapatna.

The two defectors who unsuccessfully contested the by-election have been pushing for cabinet berth for them as a "mark of tribute to their sacrifice of leaving their former party, resigning from the assembly and getting disqualified by the Speaker only to install the BJP government."

Kumathalli had turned emotional following speculations he will not secure a Cabinet berth. "We have trusted him (Yediyurappa). We are ready to do whatever work he will assign. We will firmly remain with the BJP but I am hurt," Kumathalli had said on Sunday.

Besides the Chief Minister, the MLAs also made a beeline before Yediyurappa's son BY Vijayendra ahead of the cabinet expansion.

Vijayendra had demonstrated his political acumen when he made a dent into the JD(S) bastion Mandya district in the by-elections and won a seat for the BJP by ensuring victory for Narayana Gowda from Krishnarajpet.

"There is nothing unusual about it. I frequently visit Vijayendra ever since I joined the BJP," Mahalakshmi Layout MLA K Gopalaiah told reporters after meeting him.

The Congress and the JD(S) have been watching the developments with curiosity even as "dissatisfaction" is hitting some sections of the ruling BJP ahead of crucial cabinet expansion.

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2020 11:29:05 IST