BJP’s southern dream comes true, Yeddyurappa promises ‘model Karnataka’(Roundup)

May 30th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi
By V.S. Karnic and Fakir Balaji
Bangalore, May 30 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday finally realised its dream of ruling in southern India when a 30-member ministry headed by long-time Hindu activist B.S. Yeddyurappa took office in Karnataka. Cheered by thousands of supporters and watched by the BJP brass, Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, 65, took oath of office in Kannada in the name of god and farmers, and then vowed to prove his majority in the assembly June 6 and transform Karnataka into “a model state”.

A disciplinarian who goes to temples regularly, Yeddyurappa occupied the chief minister’s chair after an elaborate prayer in the chamber.

Friday was a giant leap for the committed Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) activist who was born into a poor family and once sold lemons to support his family before embracing Hindu nationalist ideology in his early 20s. A widower, he has two sons and three daughters.

“The new government will be guided by the party manifesto and we pledge to make Karnataka a model state,” he told reporters after the swearing in ceremony. He vowed to implement the promises made in the BJP manifesto once his government proved its majority.

Among the major promises the BJP has made is to supply rice at Rs.2 a kg to poor families having green colour ration cards, providing crop loans to farmers at three percent interest and giving Rs.2 per litre milk subsidy to dairy producers.

“Let there be no doubt in anybody’s mind about the stability of my government,” he said. “My government will give no room for vindictive politics and (it will) adopt consensus approach on all progressive measures.”

But the ushering in of BJP rule in Karnataka began on a sour note as supporters of Jagdish Shettar, a party leader from the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad in north Karnataka, stoned buses there because he was not made a minister.

Shettar was offered the assembly speaker’s post but he refused it saying it would not help him work for the development of north Karnataka. He told reporters here that he would prefer to be an ordinary legislator. BJP sources said efforts were on to persuade Shettar, a four-time legislator, to be the speaker.

The Yeddyurappa ministry includes a woman, Shoba Karandlaje, a first time legislator, and a Muslim, Mumtaz Ali Khan, an educationist and vice president of the state BJP. He will be elected to the legislative council.

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 house.

The historic moment for a party once dubbed a north Indian entity with little or no prospects in the south has come with a price.

It had to make ministers five of the six independents whose help is crucial for the government’s survival.

The independents were won over after prolonged efforts 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.

Bellary mining magnates G. Janardhana Reddy and his brother G. Karunakara Reddy, who played a key role in winning over 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. The Congress bagged 80 and the JD-S of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda just 28.

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