Bengaluru: The one-man BJP government in Karnataka led chief minister B S Yediyurappa was expanded on Tuesday with the induction of 17 new ministers after almost a month. Yediyurappa formed the government after the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government on July 26. Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath to 17 MLAs at Raj Bhavan on Tuesday morning.
Among those who were administered the oath of office and secrecy were Govind Karajol, Ashwath Narayan C N, Laxman Savadi, K S Eshwarappa, R Ashoka, Jagadish Shettar, B Sreeramulu and S Suresh Kumar. V Somanna, C T Ravi, Basavaraj Bommai, Kota Shrinivas Poojari, J C Madhu Seamy, C C Patil, H Nagesh, Prabhu Chauhan and Shashikala Jolle Annasaheb are also on the list.
This is the first-ever expansion of Yediyurappa's ministry after he assumed office on July 26 and proved his government's majority on the floor of the Assembly on July 29. Having run the government with a "one-man cabinet" for over 20 days, the chief minister had on Saturday managed to get the nod from BJP national president Amit Shah to expand the cabinet.
The chief minister had sent a list of 17 ministers to be inducted into the cabinet to the governor, requesting him to administer the oath to them. The opposition Congress and the JD(S) had earlier hit out at the BJP over the delay in cabinet expansion and had raised questions about government's "existence".
Protests against non-inclusion
Supporters of Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekhar staged a protest against denial of the ministerial berth to their leader. Meanwhile, another senior BJP MLA Umesh Katti expressed displeasure over missing out on cabinet berth. He said he was ignored even though he was a senior party leader. Another sulking BJP MLA is S Angara from Sullia (Dakshina Kannada). Expressing his displeasure, he said that the people of his constituency had hopes of him becoming a minister. "I have worked hard for the party and followed all set principles but if those would not turn meritorious, then I don't know what to do," he said.
Even though the 18-member Yediyurappa-led cabinet has representations from key districts in north Karnataka, the same is not that great when it comes to the southern part of the state. Incidentally, none of the BJP MLAs from Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Chamarajnagar, Kodagu, and Mangaluru were picked to the cabinet.
Three members of dominant Vokkaligas community are in the cabinet along with three Scheduled Caste members, two Backward Castes, one Brahmin and one Scheduled Tribe member. One of the seven Lingayat ministers Shashikala Jolle is a woman. As many as four MLAs in the cabinet are from Bangalore while others have been drawn to represent northern districts where the BJP and Lingayats have a large support base. The coastal region of the state where the BJP has a big following has one representative in the cabinet in the MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary a member of the large backward caste Billava community.