The death of a senior minister,the forced resignations of three others for viewing pornography in the Assembly and the rift within the ruling BJP in Karnataka have left Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda saddled with 22 ministerial posts ahead of the Budget Session.
Gowda,whose Cabinet strength stood at 27 out of a possible 34 till last week is now left with 23 ministers,following the sudden death of V S Acharya on February 14 and the exit of Krishna Palemar,Laxman Savadi and C C Patil on February 8. While Acharya handled five ministerial posts (Higher Education,Planning,Statistics,Muzrai,Information Technology and Biotechnology),Palemar had two portfolios (Ports & Inland Water Transport and Ecology & Environment) and Savadi (Cooperation) and Patil (Women and Child Development) one each.
All these posts are going to be categorised as unallocated departments and will be handled by the CM till a Cabinet expansion,according to sources. Gowda has hinted at a Cabinet expansion soon after presenting his first Budget as Chief Minister in March.
The BJP government has over the last six months worked with a truncated ministry,with seven positions vacant on account of the deep divisions in the party between the groups of legislators led by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and senior BJP leader H N Ananth Kumar.
As a result,Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda,who came to power in August 2011 as Yeddyurappas nominee,was in-charge of 13 portfolios till last week. With the death of his trusted colleague and the exit of three others,he now has 22 portfolios to handle. He is also expected to be the minister in-charge of Mangalore and Udupi districts that were with Palemar and Acharya,respectively.
Meanwhile,Palemar,Savadi and Patil have sought another weeks time to submit their replies to the explanation sought by the Assembly Speaker.
The Opposition Congress and JD(S),who were supposed to nominate two members each to form a six-member panel to probe the porn incident,have refused to nominate anybody. There is no need for any inquiry when their actions were all visible on TV, said Opposition leader Siddaramaiah.