Bengaluru: Ten out of eleven JD(S) and Congress turncoat MLAs who won from their respective constituencies in Karnataka in the December 2019 bye-elections for the BJP took oath as ministers in the B S Yediyurappa-led cabinet. In the swearing-in ceremony held at Raj Bhavan, Bengaluru, Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath to the new ministers in the presence of top BJP leaders, supporters, and families of the new ministers.
The new ministers are S T Somasekhar (Yeshwantpur), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Anand Singh (Vijayanagar), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram), Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapur), B C Patil (Hirekerur), K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), K C Narayan Gowda (KR Pet), and Shrimanth Patil (Kagwad).
The announcement came after days of lobbying by several MLAs in the state eyeing ministerial berths. "After a discussion, the party leadership in New Delhi has said only 10 ministers should be inducted for now. I have been asked to travel to the national capital at a later point to meet the leaders to decide on the rest," Yediyurappa said. With this, the Karnataka cabinet will have 28 ministers, including the chief minister. The cabinet has a sanctioned strength of 34; six berths remain vacant.
Mahesh Kumathalli, former Congress MLA who won the bypolls from Athani, and Umesh Katti, a BJP leader who won from Hukkeri MLA, have not been chosen for the cabinet expansion. When asked, Yediyurappa said it was difficult to accommodate Kumathalli in the Cabinet but promised to give him “another big responsibility”.
The CM maintained that Katti, a front-runner among other BJP leaders for a berth, "will definitely be made a minister later." Yediyurappa had earlier promised to induct 13 ministers.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA and former minister Priyank Kharge took a jibe at his BJP counterparts who were denied ministerial berths. "Congratulations to all the new ministers, wish you all the very best in your new roles. Also, a big congratulations to BJP MLAs of Kalyana Karnataka for failing to convince your high command that KK needs more representation in the cabinet," he tweeted minutes before the swearing-in ceremony began.