BJP begins its rule in south with 30-member ministry (Second Lead)

May 30th, 2008 - 6:28 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Bangalore, May 30 (IANS) After decades of waiting, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday heralded its rule in south India with a 30-member ministry headed by B.S. Yeddyurappa taking office in Karnataka. Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, 65, took oath of office in Kannada in the name of god, watched by a galaxy of BJP leaders, chief ministers of National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-ruled states and tens of thousands of cheering supporters.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur administered the oath to Yeddyurappa, a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist, and 29 others on the portals of the majestic secretariat building in the heart of Bangalore.

The ministry includes one woman, Shoba Karandlaje, a first time member of the legislative assembly, and a Muslim, Mumtaz Ali Khan, an educationist and vice president of the BJP in the state. He is not a legislator and will be elected to the legislative council.

The BJP had not fielded any Muslim in the polls on the ground that it had no winning candidate from the community in its ranks. This had invited criticism. Yeddyurappa had promised during the campaign that the minority community would be represented in his ministry.

In the ministry are 25 legislators from the BJP and five of six independents whose support helped the party to achieve a majority of 116 in the 225-member assembly.

However, the historic moment for a party once termed as north Indian with little or no prospects in the south has come with a price.

It has had to give a ministerial berth to five of the six independents whose help is crucial for the government’s survival.

The independents were won over after day-long efforts Monday, the day after the results were announced, in the face of attempts by a section in the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular to prevent them from backing the BJP.

The five independents rewarded with cabinet posts are Venkataramanappa, D. Sudhakar, Narendra Swamy, Goolihatti Shekhar and Shivaraj Thangadagi.

Mining magnates from iron-ore rich Bellary district, G. Janardhana Reddy and his brother G. Karunakara Reddy, who played a major role in enlisting the support of the independents, were also made cabinet ministers.

The other BJP members sworn in are: K.S. Eshwarappa, V.S. Acharya, Govind Karajol, C.M. Udasi, Ramachandra Gowda, R. Ashok, S.K. Ravindranath, Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, Bachche Gowda, Basavraj Bommai, Revu Naik, S. Suresh Kumar, Krishna Palemar, Krishnaiah Shetty, Arvind Limbavali, H. Halappa, Lakshman Savadi, Rudrappa Nirmani and S.K. Bellubbi.

BJP’s prime ministerial nominee L. K. Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekawat, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Chauhan, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) convenor George Fernandes and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal were among those in attendance.

The BJP won 110 seats in the 225-member house in the three phase polls held on May 10, 16, and 22. The Congress bagged 80 seats and the JD-S of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda was relegated to a distant third position winning just 28 seats.

Six seats were taken by the independents, four of whom were Congress rebels, one was in BJP and the other in JD-S. All the six contested and won as independents after they were denied ticket by their parties.

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