Karnataka chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Monday expanded his five-day-old ministry inducting 21 with the 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 BS Yeddyurappa who had stepped down as the chief minister following his indictment by state lokayukta in his 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 the 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 the creation of the post
Governor H R Bhardwaj administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly inducted ministers at Raj Bhavan on Monday 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 the Shettar group were chosen to join the ministry after three days of consultations by the party's central leader Dharmendra Pradhan, who is the in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka.