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Yeddyurappa drops cabinet expansion plan


Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Tuesday dropped plans to fill up vacancies in the ministry, apparently in the face of a growing number of aspirants.

“The cabinet expansion, slated for Nov 3 at 9.30 a.m. at the Raj Bhavan, has been postponed,” an official release said late Tuesday, within hours after an invite was sent to the media.

The statement did not give any reason. There was no indication from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when the expansion will take place.

However, discontent over Yeddyurappa’s plan to fill at least half of the six vacancies in his ministry was evident Monday with the party chief whip D.N. Jeevaraj quitting the post as his name was not among the probable.

On Tuesday, lawmaker Chandrakant Bellad, representing the Hubli-Dharwad West constituency, told reporters in Dharwad that he was an aspirant for a cabinet berth and would decide on his plans if he was not inducted.

On Monday, supporters of two other party lawmakers demonstrated in front of Yeddyurappa’s residence here demanding their leaders be made ministers.

The chief minister had planned to take in at least three legislators into the cabinet which has six vacancies caused by the sacking of six ministers — two from the party and four independents following their revolt against him Oct 6.

The six were part of the 16 lawmakers — 11 BJP and five independents — who told Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Oct 6 that they no longer had confidence in Yeddyurappa’s leadership.

The 16 were subsequently disqualified from the assembly membership. While the high court has upheld the disqualification of the 11 BJP legislators, hearing in the case of five independents will resume Nov 8.

The names of possible inductees that did the rounds in BJP circles are C.T. Ravi and Sogadu Shivanna, lawmakers from Chikmagalur and Tumkur respectively, and Varthur Prakash, an independent legislator from Kolar.

Cabinet berth for Prakash would have been a reward for supporting the government during the Oct 14 confidence vote.

Yeddyurappa’s current problems come nearly six after the cabinet changes that triggered revolt by the 16.

In the Sep 22 cabinet changes, Yeddyurappa dropped three ministers and inducted six.

Following the rebellion, Yeddyurappa was directed by Bhardwaj to seek a trust vote in the 225-member assembly that includes one nominated member.

Yeddyurappa won the trust vote with 106 votes in favour and 100 against on Oct 14 after Bhardwaj termed the first voice vote on Oct 11 as not in order.