Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday axed three ministers including Gulihatti D Shekar, who had threatened to commit suicide if dropped, ahead of Wednesday's reshuffle and expansion of his 28-month-old BJP ministry which is likely to have six new ministers.
Besides Shekar(Sports), the ministers who have been dropped from the 31-member ministry are Shivana Gouda Naik (Adult Education) and Aravinda Limbaval (Higher Education).
Governor H R Bhardwaj has accepted the recommendation of Yeddyurappa to drop the three ministers, a Raj Bhavan communique said.
The sacking of the three ministers came amidst threats of suicide by Shekar and resignation as MLA by Naik. Some ministerial aspirants have also threatened to resign if they are not accomodated in the expansion adding to the chief minister's discomfort.
Earlier in the day, Yeddyurappa announced that he would undertake the much awaited reshuffle and expansion of his ministry on Wednesday.
The swearing-in of new ministers has been scheduled at 9:30 am in the Raj Bhavan.
"I am expanding my ministry tomorrow. The list of those who will be inducted will be finalised by this evening," Yeddyurappa, who had held a consultation with the party central leadership in Delhi yesterday, told reporters in Bangalore.
State BJP president K S Eswarappa said six ministers will be inducted, which means they will be replacements for the three axed ministers and fill up three vacant positions.
The sacking was preceded by high drama when a supporter of Shekar threatened to consume poison from a bottle he was carrying in front of Health Minister B Sreeramulu's house but police intervened and stopped him.
A group of supporters of Limbavali stopped Yeddyurappa's entourage while he was on his way for a cabinet meeting, protesting against his removal.
Supporters of C T Ravi, a ministerial aspirant, who had sent his resignation from assembly membership to party President, pelted stones at a bus at Hiremagalur in Chikmagalur district, demanding a ministerial berth for him.
Shekar had on Monday threatened to commit suicide if dropped from the ministry.
Tourism Minister and Bellary mining magnate G Janardhana Reddy, who was the rallying point for dissidents last year, has opposed dropping of independents, including Shekar, and also Naik, who quit JD-S and joined BJP in 2008.