Row holds up full Karnataka ministry formation, 21 join (Lead)

August 8th, 2011 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Aug 8 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka, under D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Monday inducted 21 ministers, leaving 12 berths vacant in view of the differences between rival factions of the party.

All the 21 were ministers in the previous government headed by B.S. Yeddyurappa, who quit July 31 after being indicted by the Lokayukta (ombudsman) in his report on illegal mining in the state.

The 21 took oath of office and secrecy at Raj Bhavan, four days after Sadananda Gowda took over as the BJP’s second chief minister in Karnataka, succeeding scam-hit Yeddyurappa.

Mining barons, the Reddy brothers and their associate B. Sriramulu, were not made ministers as they have been named in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

The Reddy brothers - G. Janardhana, G. Karunakara, G. Somashekara - and Sriramulu, and several of their supporters stayed away from Monday’s swearing-in ceremony. Janardhana and Karunakara were ministers in the Yeddyurappa government.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj administered the oath to Jagadish Shettar, R. Ashoka, V.S. Acharya, C.M. Udasi, Govind Karajol, S. Suresh Kumar, Shobha Karandlaje, Vishwanath Hegde Kageri, S.A. Ravindranath, Umesh Katti, Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, S.A. Ramdas, Revu Naik Belamagi, Lakshman Savadi, B.N. Bachche Gowda, M.P. Renukaracharya, V. Somanna, Krishna Palemar, C.C. Patil and A. Narayanaswamy.

The ministers took oath in five batches.

It was a cacophony as the ministers read out aloud the oath of office and secrecy simultaneously while their supporters kept shouting slogans.

Sadananda Gowda shared the dais with Bhardwaj while his predecessor Yeddyurappa sat in the first row of the gathering to witness the brief ceremony at Raj Bhavan.

Gowda is expected to announce the portfolios later Monday.

Just two hours before Monday’s ceremony, Gowda told reporters that 21 would be inducted now and the remaining berths would be filled within a week.

Karnataka can have a 34-member ministry, including the chief minister, under the constitutional provisions.

The delay in ministry formation was because the party was split over the number of posts and the portfolios to be given to Gowda’s supporters and his rival, former rural development minister Shettar and his supporters.

Gowda became the BJP’s second chief minister in Karnataka, narrowly defeating Shettar in an election to the post of the leader of the BJP legislature party on Aug 3.

The two factions have been holding talks since Saturday to sort out the issue of share in the ministry. BJP general secretary in charge of party affairs in the state Dharmendra Pradhan joined the efforts late Sunday.

Shettar group was reported demanding creation of two deputy chief minister posts - one for Shettar and another for one of his supporters.

However, this was turned down by BJP central leaders, who pointed out there was no such post in other BJP-ruled states, a party leader told IANS requesting anonymity.

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