The first BJP government in southern India got its third Chief Minister and an unprecedented two Deputy Chief Ministers in the final year of its existence,here on Thursday,as the BJP put in place an LKG (Lingayat-Kuruba-Gowda) combination in the hope that caste calculations will tide over a poor record for governance and corruption in the last four years.
Jagadish Shettar,a member of the majority Lingayat community,was sworn in as Chief Minister with two deputies K S Eshwarappa,a member of the substantial backward caste Kuruba community,and R Ashok,a member of the Vokkaliga community which is the second largest.
The BJP also for the first time since it came to power in 2008 has filled up all 34 available ministerial berths in the government.
Shettar said he would aim to provide a corruption free,development oriented and inclusive government. His first task would be to tackle conditions in the state on a war footing,he said. We will not be a government that is focused on north Karnataka or any particular region alone. We want to develop the state, Shettar said.
While all 22 ministers,including Shettar and Ashok,from the outgoing ministry of D V Sadananda Gowda remain in the cabinet,the BJP added 12 new ministers. The filling up of all 34 berths is expected to reduce the burden of work on the Chief Minister since Gowda was handling as many as 24 portfolios.
Among the 12 new members in the new cabinet only one loyalist of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa who forced the rejig has found representation and sources said this had already caused bad blood between the new Chief Minister and the former chief minister.
Yeddyurappa loyalist B J Puttaswamy,a Vokkaliga who served as the former chief ministers political secretary was rewarded for taking on the H D Deve Gowda family first by being made an MLC and now a minister at the cost of MLAs from the Yeddyurappa camp with a genuine political base,the sources said. The balance of power in the state cabinet now sees representation for around 12 Yeddyurappa loyalists against 22 legislators considered to be allied with the core BJP.