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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

BS Yediyurappa’s next goal: Form Karnataka cabinet

With the house expected to be adjourned after the speaker’s election, Yediyurappa is scheduled to fly to Delhi and consult the party high command on the shape of the cabinet.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2019 05:11 IST
Venkatesha Babu
Venkatesha Babu
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Newly sworn-in Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa speaks during the trust vote at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.
Newly sworn-in Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa speaks during the trust vote at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.(ANI Photo)
         

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning a trust vote in Karnataka, the attention has now shifted to chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s council of ministers.

Apart from the CM, the council of ministers can have a maximum of 33 members. But a senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that at least 60 MLAs were vying for ministerial berths.

The exercise is likely to be a delicate balancing act to ensure a right mix of caste and region. Focus will also be on whether any of the 17 disqualified rebel MLAs, who helped topple the 14-month-old Congress- Dal (Secular) coalition, are accommodated.

The assembly will take up the election of the new speaker — current speaker KR Ramesh Kumar resigned Monday — when it reconvenes on Wednesday.

Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Jagadish Shettar confirmed K G Bopiah is likely to be the party’s nominee. The BJP has 105 members in the assembly, whose strength now stands at 208.

With the house expected to be adjourned after the speaker’s election, Yediyurappa is scheduled to fly to Delhi and consult the party high command on the shape of the cabinet.

Political analyst Mahadev Prasad said Yediyruappa may opt for a phased expansion of his cabinet. “The first round may have seven to eight senior members,” he added. “The party will have a busy time ensuring all sections of society are given representation while selecting the cabinet.”

It remains unclear whether the BJP will choose to elect a deputy chief minister — like it did in the 2008-2013 administration.

During the May 2018 assembly polls, BJP chief Amit Shah had hinted BS Sreeramulu, an aide of the controversial Bellary Reddy brothers and an important tribal face of the party, might be considered for the deputy CM’s position.

A senior Karnataka BJP leader, however, said, “If they give to Sreeramulu, what about R Ashoka or KS Eshwarappa who were already deputy CMs in our earlier government? What about senior Dalit leader Govind Karajola or Jagadish Shettar who is a former CM? I don’t think there will be a deputy CM as it will cause much heart burn.”

The majority of the BJP’s legislators hail from northern, central and coastal Karnataka, with little representation from the old Mysuru or southern Karnataka region. The new cabinet will have to reward the Veerashiva – Lingayats and Valmiki communities, who have backed the party.

The BJP may have to accommodate some of the rebel lawmakers if they get the court to suspend their disqualification.

“It is actually a blessing for the BJP that the outgoing speaker disqualified the rebel MLAs,” said Prasad.

He said the BJP may also have to find a replacement for Yediyurappa as the state party unit chief. “One reason is that his term has ended. The second is that under the ‘one man, one post’ rule, he will need to vacate that post,” he said, referring to the BJP’s internal rule barring one leader from holding multiple posts.

Heavyweight Lingayat leaders including Shettar, JC Madhuswamy and Umesh Katti are said to be in the running for a ministerial berth. R Ashoka, CT Ravi and CN Ashwath Narayan are the main contenders from the dominant community of Vokkaligas.

The Dalit faces in the fray include Govind Karajola, S Angara and Arvind Limbavalli .

The influential Scheduled Tribe, Valmiki community is seeking representation for its leaders B Sriramulu, Balachandra Jharkiholi and Raju Gowda. Among backward class leaders, K S Eshwarappa (Kuruba) and Hartal Halappa (Idigas) are said to be in the running. Among Brahmins Suresh Kumar and S Ramdas are the contenders.

First Published: Jul 30, 2019 05:11 IST

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