After 25 days of uncertainty, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday expanded his Cabinet by inducting 17 members with a major share to his Lingayat community, a BJP voter base in Karnataka. Apart from Chief Minister Yediyurappa, there were seven MLAs from the Lingayat community who took oath as Cabinet Ministers in the hour-long ceremony held at Rajbhavan with Governor Vaju Bhai vala administering the oath of secrecy to the new Cabinet Ministers. In this, Lakshman Savadi is not a member of any house.
In his Cabinet, Yediyurappa has kept the caste matrix in mind with seven out of 17 belonging to Lingayats and 3 to Vokkaligas. There are 4 Ministers from the SC/ST community, 2 OBCs and 1 Brahmin Minister. 4 MLAs from Bengaluru have also been allotted ministerial berths.
Staunch RSS worker Suresh Kumar, a Brahmin from Bengaluru, made it to the Cabinet. Three Vokkaligas, R Ashok, CN Ashwathanarayana and CT Ravi have also been inducted into the new Cabinet. Govind M Karjol, Prabhu Chavan and Independent legislator H Nagesh are from the Dalit community in the Ministry and account for nearly 25 per cent of the State's 6.5 crore population. B Sreeramulu, from the Valmiki community, is also part of the Ministry. MLA Shashikala Jolle is the lone woman Minister in the Cabinet.
Now 16 seats out of 34 are vacant as the BJP had assured the disqualified MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) that they would be rewarded for their help in forming the Government. However, it was not a smooth affair for Yediyurappa who had to face the wrath of some senior MLAs in the party who have abstained and openly expressed their dissatisfaction.
BJP MLAs, including ministerial aspirants Balachandra Jarkhiholi, Murugesh Nirani, MP Renukacharya, Basangouda Patil Yatnal, Umesh Katti, GH Thippareddy, and Goolihatti Shekhar have missed the swearing-in ceremony and openly expressed their displeasure.
The coastal region of the state where the BJP has a big following has one representative in the cabinet with MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary a member of the large backward caste Billava community.
In a clear sign of the BJP rewarding legislators who helped the party pull down the coalition Government last month, Bangalore MLA Dr C N Ashwathnarayan, a Vokkaliga, who played a key role in moving rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs to Mumbai for defection has been given a Cabinet berth. The Independent MLA from Mulbagal in Kolar H Nagesh, a Dalit, who has also defected to the BJP by quitting his Cabinet position in the coalition Government is being inducted.
The BJP veterans in the Cabinet are Basavaraj Bommai, Jagadish Shettar (former chief Minister) , V Somanna, CC Patil, Laxman Savadi. The former JDU leader JC Madhuswamy, a Lingayat, who played a crucial role in the legislature to guide the BJP to a trust vote victory, is also in the cabinet. The Dalit leader Govind Karjol, KS Eshwarappa a backward caste Kuruba leader, R Ashoka and C T Ravi both Vokkaligas, Suresh Kumar a Brahmin, and Bellary’s B Sreeramulu from a Scheduled Tribe are the other BJP veterans in the Yediyurappa Ministry. Prabhu Chavan, a Dalit MLA is a new inductee along with the lone woman Minister Shashikala Jolle.
Supporters of Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekhar staged protest at Hosadurga in Chitradurga district over 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. BJP MLA S Angara from Sullia (Dakshina Kannada) is one among several sulking leaders upset over not considered for ministership.
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. The six-time MLA was speculated to become Minister, filling in the slot for a Dalit Minister.
Yediyurappa, who took oath as Chief Minister on July 26 and proved his Government's majority on the floor of the Assembly on July 29. Narayan, Swamy, Chauhan and Jolle have become Ministers for the first time.
Yediyurappa became the BJP's first Chief Minister in south India after the party came to power for the first time on its own with a simple majority in May 2008. He, however, was forced to resign on July 31, 2011 after being indicted by the Lokayuktha, the State anti-corruption body, for his alleged role in the multi-crore mining scam that rocked the southern state for a decade between 2001-11. Jagdish Shettar was the BJP's third Chief Minister from September 2012 to May 2013, when the party was in power for the first time between 2008 and 2013. He has also been inducted as a Cabinet Minister.
Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers DV Sadananda Gowda was the second BJP Chief Minister in the State from August 2011 to September 2012. Gowda is a two-time Lok Sabha member from Bangalore North constituency.