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Gowda Jr fails to please all

The exercise was not as rosy as painted by Karnataka's new captain. Several MLAs of the coalition partners, the rebel Janata Dal (S) and the BJP pulled long faces at the end of the first phase of the expansion of H.D. Kumaraswamy's 15-day-old government here on Friday.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 01:46 IST

The exercise was not as rosy as painted by Karnataka's new captain. Several MLAs of the coalition partners, the rebel Janata Dal (S) and the BJP pulled long faces at the end of the first phase of the expansion of H.D. Kumaraswamy's 15-day-old government here on Friday.

Kumaraswamy added 29 new ministers- nine from Dal (S) and 11 from the BJP - to his crew. But it failed to bring cheer. There were no women in the team and several wannabes could not be accommodated.

Those left out alleged lack of balance in terms of community and regional representation.

The BJP rooted for veterans, which irked the rank-and-file. State unit president Jagadish Shettar and party leader in the legislative council D.H. Shankar Murthy made it, while only two new faces found slots in the group of 11.

The JD(S), on its part, retained five ministers of the erstwhile Dharam Singh government. The BJP legislators apparently went ballistic at a meeting addressed by Venkaiah Naidu.

The common refrain: "What is the rationale in giving ministerial berths to three senior leaders from one district (Shimoga) or for that matter inducting three from the legislative council when we are the single largest party in the Assembly?"

Some legislators opposed the party's decision to make room for Bellary MLA Sriramulu against whom several cases are pending.

Neither the chief minister's elder sibling H.D. Revanna, who held the public works and power portfolios in the Dharam Singh ministry nor other senior leaders- former deputy chief minister M.P. Prakash, D. Manjunath and A.Srinivas — could find berths in the ministry. Iqbal Ansari is the lone minority representative in the new government in sharp contrast to the Dharam Singh government, which had four. Sources in Dal (S) said patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda reportedly put a spanner in the seniors' scheme of things by insisting on a young team.

Kumaraswamy later told reporters that the next phase of expansion would be carried out in February-end, ahead of the budget session. Governor Mr Trilok Nath Chaturvedi will address the joint session on February 24.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 01:46 IST