Fifth ‘defector’ gets into Karnataka ministry

August 27th, 2008 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 27 (IANS) Umesh Katti, who recently quit the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and joined Karnataka’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was Wednesday inducted into the state cabinet. He is the fifth among recent entrants to the party to be made a minister.Katti came in the place of BJP legislator S.K. Bellubbi, who was made to quit from the cabinet Sunday, prompting violent protests from his supporters in his home district of Bijapur in north Karnataka.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur administered the oath of office and secrecy to Katti at Raj Bhavan. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his cabinet colleagues were present on the occasion.

Of the four other cabinet ministers who recently joined the BJP, three are from the JD-S and one from the Congress.

All the five have also resigned from the assembly as otherwise they would have faced action under the anti-defection law.

The BJP, which won 110 seats in the 225-member assembly in the May polls, formed the government with the support of six Independent legislators, five of whom have been made cabinet ministers.

The BJP had started ‘Operation Lotus’ (Lotus is the party’s election symbol) in July to woo legislators from the Congress which won 80 seats, and the JD-S that managed just 28 seats.

However, increasing opposition from within the BJP to reward ‘defectors’ with a ministry to the neglect of senior and loyal party workers has forced Chief Minister Yeddyurappa and state BJP president D.V. Sadananda Gowda to stop the operation.

“We will not ask any more party ministers to resign from the cabinet,” the two said earlier this week following protests by Bellubbi’s supporters and other BJP leaders.

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