Karnataka gets 21-member cabinet minus Reddys
Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister D V
Sadananda Gowda on Monday expanded his five-day-old ministry
inducting 21 with Cabinet rank but left out the mining
magnates Reddy brothers and their close associate Sreeramulu.
All the ministers who were inducted had served in the
outgoing ministry of B S Yeddyurappa who had stepped down as
Chief Minister following his indictment by Lokayukta in its
report on illegal mining.
Karunakara Reddy and Janardhana Reddy, who were also
indicted in the Lokayukta report and their close associate
from mines rich Bellary district B Sreeramulu, failed to
return to the ministry. The three were ministers in BJP's
first government in the South headed by Yeddyurappa.
There is no Deputy Chief Minister amid speculation that
Jagadish Shettar who was defeated by Gowda, a Yeddyurappa
loyalist, in the secret ballot may get this post. The strong
bid by Shettar to bag this post was brought to nought by
Yeddyurappa, who opposed creation of the post
Governor H R Bhardwaj administered oath of office and
secrecy to the newly inducted ministers at Raj Bhavan this
evening, acceding to a request at short notice by Gowda.
Those who joined the ministry are: Jagadish Shettar,
Dr V S Acharya, R Ashoka, C M Udasi, Govind Karjol, S Suresh
Kumar, Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, Shobha Karndlaje, S A
Ravindranath, Basavaraj Bommai, Umesh Katti, Murugesh Nirani,
S A Ramdas, Laxman Savadi, C C Patil, Revenunaik Belamagi, B N
Bacchegowda, J Krishna Palemar, V Somanna, A Naryanaswamy and
M P Renukacharya.
With this the strength of the ministry rose to 22,
leaving 12 more berths to be filled as Karnataka is entitled
for a 34-member ministry as per the constitutional norm.
Besides Gowda, Yeddyurappa and several BJP leaders
attended the swearing-in ceremony.
According to party sources, under a consensus reached
between rival factions, 12 belonging to Yeddyurappa camp and
nine from Shettar group were chosen to join the ministry
afteer three-days of consultations by the party's central
leader Dharmendra Pradhan, who is in-charge of party affairs
Gowda, who was sworn-in as Chief Minister succeeding
Yeddyurappa on August four, faced a tough situation in the
ministry making exercise, with rival camps engaged in
hard bargaining over allocation of portfolios and demanding
creation of two Deputy Chief Minister slots.
According to party sources, Shettar, a prominent
Lingayat leader, who had to eat an humble pie in the election
of new legislature party leader through secret ballot,
demanded that he and Ashok, a Vokkaliga leader of his camp be
made Deputy Chief Ministers.
The Yeddyurappa faction, which already gained an upper
hand ensuring Gowda's triumph, opposed creation of Deputy
Chief Minister's post, apprehending it might create another
power centre and also that none of the BJP-ruled states have
such an arrangement.
Giving a ministerial berth for Somanna, whose name
figured in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining submitted
last month, has surprised many in the party.
The Reddy brothers and Sreeramulu were conspicuous by
their absence at the swearing-in ceremony.
Gowda has said he would expand his ministry within a
week to fill the remaining vacancies.
Speaking to reporters, Shettar acknowledged that he was
keen on becoming the Deputy Chief Minister, but said he
accepted the party's decision.
"I have worked in the Yeddyurappa ministry as Rural
Development Minister. Will do a good job in this ministry
also. We are united. We will abide by whatever the decision
the party takes", Shettar said.
Ashoka admitted that there were fissures over ministry
expansion, but it has been resolved by the party's central
BJP National General Secretary H N Anantkumar, who
made a vain bid to elect Shettar as Yeddyurappa's successor,
did not attend the swearing-in.
Gowda presided over a formal cabinet meeting with the
newly inducted ministers soon after the oath taking ceremony.
He told reporters he would visit Delhi tomorrow to meet
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the party's top brass.
Gowda said he would continue to implement the
developmental programmes launched by the previous government
led by Yeddyurappa.