Home India Politics BJP to finally rule southern state, but JD-S throws dampener

BJP to finally rule southern state, but JD-S throws dampener


Bangalore : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get its first chief minister in the south of the country Monday when B.S. Yeddyurappa assumes office in Karnataka, but coalition partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) added a sour note to the party’s celebrations Sunday.

The JD-S decided that none of its nominees will take oath Monday, contrary to announcements by the two parties that a JD-S leader will be sworn in as deputy chief minister along with Yeddyurappa.

“All 18 ministers from JD-S will take oath at a later date,” former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy announced after a meeting of the JD-S legislators.

He did not give any reason for the decision.

The JD-S move sent BJP into a tizzy and Yeddyurappa rushed to the residence to Kumaraswamy’s father and JD-S president H.D. Deve Gowda, a former prime minister, to persuade him to allow his party nominee to take oath Monday.

Karnataka can have up to 34 ministers as the assembly has 225-members. According to the power-sharing arrangement, JD-S will have 18 ministers and the BJP 16, though the latter is the larger party with 79 members against 51 of JD-S.

Deve Gowda was meeting senior party leaders Sunday night to decide on the party’s deputy chief ministerial nominee as the JD-S is divided over it.

He may propose the name of a Muslim or a Dalit leader for the post to avoid aggravating the tussle within his family over it.

His elder son H.D. Revanna, a former senior minister, is a strong contender for the position but is facing stiff opposition from party legislators who prefer Kumaraswamy.

Angry over reports on the sibling rivalry for the post, Kumaraswamy strongly criticised the media Sunday accusing it, particularly local electronic media, of attempts to show the Gowda clan in a bad light.

In case JD-S sticks to its stand, the BJP could decide late Sunday night or Monday morning to ask some of its own senior state leaders to take oath along with Yeddyurappa, BJP sources said.

Karnataka has been under the president’s rule and the assembly has been kept under suspended animation since Oct 9, a day after Kumaraswamy resigned as BJP pulled out of their alliance over his refusal to make way for Yeddyurappa as per an agreement reached in February 2006.

The 65-year-old Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa will be sworn in by Governor Rameshwar Thakur in the presence of a host of the party’s national leaders – president Rajnath Singh, L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitely, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Yashwant Sinha.

Tens of thousands of BJP members from across Karnataka are expected to be present at the ceremony on the steps of the stately Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, in the heart of the city.

With over 50,000 people expected to converge there for the swearing in at noon, traffic movement in several parts of Bangalore is expected to be severely affected though the city police say they have made elaborate arrangement to ensure minimum disruption.