In its first cabinet expansion in Karnataka since coming to power on July 26, the BJP has picked a 17-member team comprising mostly of tried and trusted party veterans and a few newcomers who helped it topple the Congress-JDS coalition government. As many as seven ministers in the cabinet chosen for Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa are from the dominant Lingayat community to which Yediyurappa belongs.
Three members of another dominant community the Vokkaligas are in the cabinet along with three Scheduled Caste members, two Backward Castes, one Brahmin and one Scheduled Tribe member. One of the seven Lingayat ministers Shashikala Jolle is a woman.
As many as four MLAs in the cabinet are from Bangalore while others have been drawn up to represent northern districts where the BJP and Lingayats have a large support base.
The coastal region of the state where the BJP has a big following has one representative in the cabinet in the MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary a member of the large backward caste Billava community.
In a clear sign of the BJP rewarding legislators who helped the party pull down the coalition government last month the young Bangalore MLA Dr C N Ashwathnarayan, a Vokkaliga, who played a key role in moving rebel Congress and JDS MLAs to Mumbai for defection has been given a cabinet berth.
The Independent MLA from Mulbagal in Kolar H Nagesh, a Dalit, who also defected to the BJP by ditching his cabinet position in the coalition government is being inducted.
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The BJP veterans in the cabinet are Basavaraj Bommai, Jagadish Shettar, V Somanna, C C Patil, Laxman Savadi.
The former JDU leader J C Madhuswamy, a Lingayat, who played a crucial role in the legislature to guide the BJP to a trust vote victory is also in the cabinet.
The Dalit leader Govind Karjol, K S Eshwarappa a backward caste Kuruba leader, R Ashoka and C T Ravi — both Vokkaligas, Suresh Kumar a Brahmin, and Bellary’s B Sreeramulu from a Scheduled Tribe are the other BJP veterans in the Yediyurappa ministry.
Prabhu Chavan, a Dalit MLA is a new inductee along with the lone woman minister Shashikala Jolle.
The 17 member cabinet took oath at 10.30 am.
Yediyurappa is keen on inducting many of the 15 Congress-JDS rebels who helped the BJP topple the coalition and has left as many as 17 cabinet posts vacant. The rebels who were disqualified last month are fighting a case in the Supreme Court over the issue.
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