Karnataka Gets Another ‘Chief Minister’

Karnataka got another ‘Chief Minister’ when BJP leader Madhu Swamy

Bengaluru: Call it slip of tongue or sign of things to come, Karnataka got another ‘Chief Minister’ when BJP leader JC Madhu Swamy took oath as mukhya mantri, or chief minister, instead of mantri, which just means minister.

Swamy was a star performer for the BJP during the heated confidence motion debate moved by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in the Assembly recently.

Swamy did not realise the mistake initially. It was only when the real Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa went up to him and hugged him that he went back and took oath as a mantri.

Apart from the hilarious highlight, on a more serious note, Yediyurappa finally got a cabinet comprising 17 ministers three weeks after he was sworn in. BJP president Amit Shah gave him the green signal after tweaking his list.

The 17 MLAs were sworn in by Governor Vajubhai Vala this morning. Among those who made it to the lucky 17 are former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, former deputy CM and state president K S Eshwarppa, B Sreeramulu, a politician close to the controversial Reddy brothers of Ballari; CT Ravi, who is known for his right-wing views and Jolle Shashikala Annasaheb, the lone woman to be inducted in the first round of cabinet expansion.

Other heavyweight leaders to be inducted in the cabinet were former Home minister R Ashok, Suresh Kumar and Basavaraj Bommai.

The party high command deliberately left many cabinet berths vacant in order to stave off rebellion from those not in the list and to accommodate the rebel MLAs after they get a clearance from the Supreme Court.

Soon after the swearing in, Chitradurga MLA Thippa Reddy hoisted a flag of revolt claiming that he deserved a berth in the state cabinet saying  “I have been in politics since 1969. I have won six times from this constituency as an independent and later as a BJP candidate as well. Whenever I won, it was with a thumping majority for the BJP. Nobody from my district has become a minister so far… I am heading to Bengaluru where I will meet all senior leaders – and secular leaders as well – to decide my future course of action,” he said.

Bulk of the cabinet berths – five in total — went to the Lingayat community of Yediyurappa.  There are 39 Lingayat legislators in the BJP camp.

With a cabinet now in place, hopefully Karnataka will get proper governance.