Seeking to downplay the decision to shelve ministry expansion plan at the last minute, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today said it was due to delay in finalising the names and he would soon set a new date for the exercise.
“Due to delay in finalising the names of those to be inducted into the ministry, I had to cancel today’s swearing in. I will set a new date and am sure to expand the ministry,” he told reporters here. The Chief Minister said he would discuss the ministry expansion issue soon with party higher-ups.
Yeddyurappa, who recently survived a trust vote in the assembly, had decided to fill up four of the six vacant ministerial posts, but called it off after protests from some partymen. BJP’s Chief Whip in the Assembly D N Jeevaraj had quit his post on November 1, apparently unhappy with the fact that he may not find a slot. A section of partymen had also opposed rewarding lone independent Varthur Prakash and Narasimha Naik, rebels turned loyalists, ignoring the claims of senior legislators.
Meanwhile, state unit BJP President K S Eshwarappa indicated the ministry exp-ansion might take place either before Deepavali or soon after that. Varthur Prakash, one of the MLAs who was tipped to take oath as minister today, met Yeddyurappa at his official residence to discuss the issue.
The BJP high command had yesterday stepped in to check the brewing discontent in the Karnataka unit on ministry expansion and directed Yeddyurappa to call off the swearing-in. Yeddyurappa faced the trust vote on October 11 which was carried by voice vote but declared unconstitutional by the Governor who asked him to prove his majority for the second time on October 22. The government managed to sail through with 106 votes in its favour and 100 against.
Lokayukta begins probe into horse-trading
Karnataka Lokayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman, has begun a preliminary probe into a complaint alleging horse-trading by ruling BJP to lure opposition MLAs.
“Ramesh Gowda (JDS), has filed a complaint before the Lokayukta alleging that some of the BJP MLAs have been offering bribe to their opposition counterparts to defect. We have taken up preliminary investigations into it,” Lokayukta Santosh Hegde said here.
Gowda has also provided a CD in support of his complaint, Hegde said. “If there is any prima facie case, we will commence a full-fledged probe,” he said. During the political crisis triggered by rebel BJP MLAs last month, the JD(S) had released a CD containing purported conversation between its Gubbi MLA, Srinivas, and BJP MLA Suresh Gowda.
JD(S) had charged that Suresh Gowda offered money to Srinivas to resign his assembly membership ahead of the second floor test faced by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on October 22, which he won. Srinivas, however, turned down the offer, it had said.