Gowda becomes Karantaka chief minister, opponents boycott ceremony (Night Lead)

August 4th, 2011 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Aug 4 (IANS) D.V. Sadananda Gowda Thursday became the Bharatiya Janata Party’s second chief minister in Karnataka but his opponents in the ruling party boycotted the oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.

On being called by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, Gowda alone took oath of office and secrecy in Kannada in the name of god.

The conspicuous absence of former rural development minister Jagadish Shettar who lost to Gowda for the BJP legislature party leader post in the Wednesday election and several of his legislators, including the Reddy brothers (G. Karunakara and G. Janardhana) at the simple ceremony brought to the fore the cracks in the faction-ridden ruling party.

Though Gowda earlier in the day personally invited Shettar and his supporting legislators to the oath ceremony, they stayed away from the swearing-in function.

Shettar’s faction leader and party’s general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, who is also the Lok Sabha member from Bangalore South, and party’s state unit president K.S. Eshwarappa were, however, present on the occasion.

In contrast, Gowda’s leader and former chief minister B.S.Yeddyurappa and several of his loyal legislators, including many former ministers were present in full force, displaying a show of strength.

When asked about the absence of Shettar and other legislators, Gowda told reporters that many could not come (to the oath ceremony) because of various reasons.

“Shettar invited me for tea this (Thursday) morning. We had good discussions,” is all that Gowda would say at his maiden press conference in the state secretariat an hour later.

Soon after resigning July 31, scam-hit Yeddyurappa proposed Gowda as his successor and ensured his victory through a voting process when the party leadership failed to choose a consensus candidate till Wednesday.

Indicating that he was his own man, Gowda asserted that it would be wrong to expect him to do whatever Yeddyurappa wants.

“Time will give answer,” Gowda quipped.

On Yeddyurappa’s statements that he would be back as chief minister in six months, Gowda said it would not be wise to talk about the future in politics.

“Many have said they would rule for five years but left office earlier for some reason or other. And there is nothing wrong if somebody wants to become chief minister again though I would not like to comment on what Yeddyurappa said,” Gowda noted.

Yeddyurappa, who quit following his indictment by the state Lokayukta (ombudsman) in the multi-crore illegal mining scam, had told senior officials at a farewell party that he would back in six months.

On cabinet expansion, Gowda said he would finalise the names in the next three-four days in consultation with party leaders at the central and state levels and all legislators.

Referring to his priorities, the new chief minister said he would adopt the development model of the Yeddyurappa government and strive to achieve further progress by consolidating the developments accomplished so far.

“I have resolved to make dedicated efforts to build the state with the support and cooperation of all legislators, party leaders and opposition parties, Gowda reiterated.

Lauding the Yeddyurappa government for creating several firsts in the country in terms of development and implementation of welfare programmes, Gowda said the first-ever BJP government in the state had opened a new chapter in the political history of south India.

Soon after taking oath, Gowda entered the chief minister’s chamber at Vidhana Soudha (state secretariat) where Hindu priests performed ‘puja’. His wife wife Datty, son Karthik, former higher education minister V.S. Acharaya and senior officials were present on the occasion.

After the ‘puja’, Gowda occupied the chief minister’s seat amid the chanting of Vedic hymns.

Gowda, who represents the party in the Lok Sabha from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency, has to be elected to the state legislative assembly or nominated to the legislative council in the next six months to continue as chief minister.

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