Yeddyurappa rewards Congress defector with ministry | india | Hindustan Times
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Yeddyurappa rewards Congress defector with ministry

india Updated: Jun 18, 2009 17:35 IST
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Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday inducted into his ministry V Somanna, a former Congress legislator who defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Somanna comes in the place of Housing and Muzrai (Religious Endowment) minister S.N. Krishnaiah Setty who resigned Wednesday. The former Congressman was a Janata Dal minister a decade back.

An influential leader of the politically powerful Lingayat community, Somanna quit the assembly and the Congress to join the BJP and campaigned for the party's general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar in the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency. Ananth Kumar won the seat for the fifth consequtive time.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur administered the oath of office and secrecy to Somanna at Raj Bhavan in the presence of Yeddyurappa, his cabinet colleagues and Ananth Kumar.

Setty had to resign for Somanna to be rewarded as the Yeddyurappa ministry already had 34 ministers, the maximum number permitted for Karnataka under the constitution.

Somanna becomes the fifth new entrant to the BJP to get ministerial berth in the party's first government in Karnataka. The ministry also has five Independents who helped the BJP to form the government in May last year as it won only 110 seats in the 225-member (including one nominated) assembly.

Somanna is not a legislator now and has to get elected to the assembly or the legislative council, the upper house of the state legislature, within six months.