Yediyurappa Inducts 10 Defectors Into Cabinet, Loyalists Left Out
10 MLAs who had defected from Congress and the JD(S) will take oath 6 February.
As disgruntlement within the saffron party gathers steam, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has decided to induct only Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) turncoats, who won the bypolls in December 2019, into the state Cabinet.
The party released the list of MLAs who will be inducted into the Cabinet on Thursday, 6 February. And the list did not include the names of any Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) loyalists who were hoping for a chance to become ministers.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the Raj Bhavan at 10:30 am on Thursday.
The total strength of the Karnataka Cabinet is 34. At present, including Chief Minister Yediyurappa, there are 18 Cabinet ministers.
The party had come under criticism for delay in the filling up the Cabinet posts, especially during the recent north Karnataka floods.
Following the by-elections on 5 December, all these 16 posts were expected to be filled. Earlier this week, the party decided that only 10 out of the 11 Congress-JD(S) turncoats would be sworn in as ministers on Thursday.
The 11th turncoat Mahesh Kumatahalli is expected to get a post in one of the state-run corporations, instead of a Cabinet post.
This resulted in a race for the six vacant seats, and ministerial aspirants in the party started making a pitch for their cases. Native BJP leaders and another group comprising MLAs from erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region emerged with each demanding a ministerial post.
Earlier, after Yediyurappa indicated that three 'native BJP' leaders would also be inducted, there were rumours that they could be Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali, Umesh Katti and C P Yogeshwar, who had lost to former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy from Channapatna.
But as this race for Cabinet berths resulted in disgruntlement within the party, the BJP high command and Yediyurappa discussed the the names of native BJP leaders in Cabinet once again, in New Delhi.
‘I am Hurt’: Kumathalli
The two defectors who unsuccessfully contested the by-election have been pushing for Cabinet berths for themselves as a "mark of tribute to their sacrifice of leaving their former party, resigning from the Assembly and getting disqualified by the Speaker only to install the BJP government."
Kumathalli turned emotional following speculations he will not secure a Cabinet berth:
“We have trusted him (Yediyurappa). We are ready to do whatever work he will assign. We will firmly remain with the BJP but I am hurt.”
The Congress and the JD(S) have been watching the developments within the BJP camp with curiosity ahead of crucial Cabinet expansion.
(With inputs from PTI)
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