Karnataka cabinet to get 7-8 new ministers on Wednesday
- Governor Vajubhai Vala is expected to administer the oath of office during a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.
After months of delay, the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka is likely to get 7-8 new ministers with the oath-taking ceremony slated for 4 pm on Wednesday.
Governor Vajubhai Vala is expected to administer the oath of office during a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Chief minister Yediyurappa said that the names of the ministers are being finalised and would be submitted to the Raj Bhavan later on Tuesday night.
With only seven vacancies available, Yediyurapp's comment on 7-8 new inductees raised eyebrows. When asked about it, the CM said, "Yes there is a possibility (that one sitting minister might be dropped). All will be known shortly."
According to BJP sources, three defectors from the Congress who helped the party form the government by resigning their legislative seats are sure to be inducted. They are Raja Rajeshwari Nagar MLA Munirathhna who won a by-poll. The other two ar MTB Nagaraju and R Shankar, both Vidhana Parishat members.
Shankar had won the 2018 poll as an independent and had switched sides several times earning the nickname 'pendulum' for his yo-yo act before joining as an associate member of the Congress only to finally resign his legislative seat and help BJP topple the coalition government.
Shankar did not contest the ensuing by-poll choosing to be elected to the upper house as a BJP member. Nagaraju, one of the richest politicians in the state and has declared assets to the tune of ₹1,220 crore, was defeated in the by-polls but was elected to the upper house on a BJP ticket.
Amongst the 'original' BJP legislators - Umesh Katti, the six-term legislator from Hukkeri in Northern Karnataka; S Angara, the five-term legislator from Sullia constituency; and Hiryur MLA Poornima Srinivas - are said to be the front-runners for a cabinet berth.
Katti, while speaking to reporters at Belagavi airport, claimed that he had been summoned by the CM to be present in the state capital, presumably to take oath as a minister. Angara too made a similar claim in Sullia.
Of the other one or two berths left, intense lobbying is on by party's senior Dalit leader Arvind Limbavalli and BJP's key actor in the old Mysuru belt CP Yogeshwar who is a member of the upper house. If the CM decides to go ahead with inducting 8 new faces, he will have to drop at least one as the maximum cabinet size including the CM is 34 in Karnataka and there are only seven vacancies at present.
Excise minister H Nagesh another independent who helped BJP form the government but is facing corruption allegations or Shasikala Jolle the minister for women and child development are likely to face the axe, according to BJP sources.
Political analyst Aravind said that irrespective of who gets the nod, the exercise is likely to kickstart another round of dissidence. "There are simply too many claimants for too few posts. It will definitely create heartburn amongst those who have been denied a berth. It remains to be seen how he will handle the aftermath of the cabinet expansion exercise".
BJP national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh will be present at the ceremony according to party sources.
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