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Stage set for first BJP Govt in K'taka

The first-ever BJP government in Karnataka will assume office today when its chief minister-designate BS Yeddyurappa takes oath.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Bangalore
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2008 11:40 AM IST

The first-ever Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka will assume office on Friday when its chief minister-designate BS Yeddyurappa takes oath in front of the majestic Vidhana Soudha - the seat of executive power.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur will administer the oath of office to Yeddyurappa and 20-24 legislators, including supporting independents as ministers at 1.50 pm in the presence of a galaxy of BJP national leaders and thousands of party activists and supporters.

For the D-day, BJP has turned India's garden city saffron by putting up hundreds of party flags with its lotus symbol, colourful buntings, banners, hoardings and tall cut-outs of Yeddyurappa, former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other party leaders en-route to the venue of the swearing-in ceremony.

Prominent among the VIPs expected are BJP's prime ministerial candidate LK Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi, party vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, party general secretary Arun Jaitley and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Rajya Sabha MP Sushma Swaraj, who were stars of the party's intense campaign during the recent assembly election across the state, are expected too.

The police have made elaborate security arrangements in and around the state secretariat. From Friday morning, vehicles were being diverted out of the area, from as far as a km away.

Hundreds of Yeddyurappa's supporters from his home village Bookanakare in Mandya district, about 100 km from here, and an equal number of Sangh Parivar followers from his home constituency Shikaripura in Shimoga district, about 330 km away, have descended on India's IT hub to watch their "mannina maga" (son of the soil) take charge as BJP's first chief minister in South India.

An estimated 15,000-20,000 people are likely to converge at the function venue in front of the century-old Karnataka High Court building and opposite the famous Cubbon Park in the heart of the city.

Incidentally, this is the second time Yeddyurappa is becoming Karnataka's chief minister. He took the same oath Nov 12 last year, but as head of the BJP-led coalition government, which barely lasted seven days following the sudden withdrawal of support by its ally Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) Nov 19.

The 66-year-old Yeddyurappa was elected from Shikaripura for the sixth time by defeating former chief minister and Samajwadi Party's state unit president S Bangarappa in a straight contest with a margin of about 43,000 votes.

Though BJP emerged as the single largest party with 110 seats after this month's poll, it fell three seats short of majority in the 225-member legislative assembly.

The party, however, enlisted the support of all the six independents who have been elected. All rebels of the BJP, Congress or JD-S.

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