Yeddyurappa’s cabinet expansion plan facing hurdles

Monday, November 1, 2010

BANGALORE - Rumblings of discontent have again begun as Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa prepares to fill up vacancies in the ministry - nearly six weeks after cabinet changes plunged his government into a major crisis.

There are six vacancies, all of them created following the sacking of ministers who revolted against his leadership on Oct 6. Of them two were members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and four independent lawmakers.

Yeddyurappa wants to fill at least three vacancies this week, keeping three other slots open. He had said last week that three or four legislators will be inducted into the ministry either Nov 3 or 4.

The names of possible inductees doing the rounds in BJP circles are C.T. Ravi and Sogadu Shivanna, lawmakers from Chikmagalur and Tumkur, respectively, and Varthur Prakash, an independent legislator from Kolar.

Cabinet berth for Prakash is a reward for supporting the government during the Oct 14 confidence vote.

At least one BJP lawmaker, D.N. Jeevaraj from Sringeri in Chikmagalur district, has already expressed unhappiness at being left out. He told reporters in Bangalore Monday that he will quit as party chief whip in the assembly if denied cabinet berth. “I will talk to Yeddyurappa and take a decision,” Jeevaraj said.

Supporters of at least two other party lawmakers Monday demonstrated outside the residence of Yeddyurappa here demanding cabinet berth for their legislators.

State BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa has warned of strict action against party legislators if they indulge in dissident activity over denial of cabinet berth.

The Sep 22 cabinet changes, when Yeddyurappa dropped three ministers and inducted six, triggered a major crisis for him as 14 BJP lawmakers, including two ministers, and five independent legislators, four of whom were ministers, rebelled and said they no longer have confidence in his leadership.

Of the 14 BJP lawmakers, three returned to the party fold.

Yeddyurappa sacked the six ministers and later the assembly speaker disqualified the 16 legislators. The disqualification of 11 BJP legislators has been upheld by the state high court while the appeal of the independents will be heard Tuesday.

Following the rebellion, Yeddyurappa was directed by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to seek a trust vote in the 225-member assembly that includes one nominated member.

Yeddyurappa won the trust vote with 106 votes in favour and 100 against on Oct 14 after Bhardwaj termed the first voice vote on Oct 11 as not in order.

Filed under: Politics

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