10 MLAs, Defectors From Congress-JDS To Be Made Karnataka Ministers
Bengaluru: In a move that will trigger a political quake in the days ahead from BJP loyalists and old-timers, Karnataka Chief Minister bs yediyurappa today expanded his six-month-old cabinet inducting 10 Congress and JD(S) rebels who had helped him assume power through defections.
In total 13 lawmakers had withdrawn their support to the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy last July, causing it to collapse. They then had to give up their MLA posts, crossed over to the BJP and contested by-elections on BJP tickets. All 13 were given BJP tickets to contest by-polls but only 11 of them won.
Of the winners, only Mahesh Kumathalli was left out of the current expansion.
The chief minister said, “It will be difficult to take in Mahesh Kumathalli, but we will give him some important responsibility.” Kumathalli himself has said he would not embarrass the BJP but that he did have questions over his omission.
The MLAs had crossed over after Yediyurappa had promised them ministership if he were to come to power. Today, he kept up his promise. The chief minister had earlier acknowledged that the BJP was in power in the state because of these MLAs.
It wasn’t an easy task for Yediyurappa as party loyalists and old-timers triggered made his job tough. The CM had to shuttle several times to Delhi to get approval from Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda.
Despite denials, resentment is indeed brewing in the BJP from loyalists who were keen to get a cabinet berth.
After crossing the first hurdle, the chief minister will once shuttle to Delhi to consult his party’s national leaders about portfolio allotment. He will also put up names for the remaining vacant slots in the cabinet.
There are six cabinet berths to be filled in. Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 ministers, including the CM. Yediyurappa had inducted 18 ministers in the first spell and with today’s expansion, the number goes to 28.
The CM had suggested the names of four BJP loyalists be included in the current expansion, but the proposal was shot down by the party high command.
The cabinet expansion was a simple affair conducted on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan. Governor Vajubhai Valla administered the oath of office.