Bengaluru, August 20: More than three weeks after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday expanded his ministry by inducting 17 ministers into his Cabinet. This is the first Cabinet expansion after he assumed office on July 26 and proved his government's majority on the floor of the Assembly on July 29.
The Chief Minister had been running a "one-man cabinet" so far, that had come under severe criticism from the opposition Congress and the JDS.
Among the those inducted into the cabinet on Tuesday, 16 are from the BJP and one independent, H Nagesh. The new ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan here. Karnataka Cabinet Expansion on August 20, Confirms BS Yediyurappa.
They include former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, two former deputy Chief Ministers -- K S Eshwarappa and R Ashoka, independent MLA H Nagesh and Laxman Sangappa Savadi,who is not a member of the Assembly or Council and MLC Kota Srinivas Poojari.
Others sworn in were: Govind M Karajol, Ashwath Narayan C N, B Sriramulu, S Suresh Kumar, V Somanna, C T Ravi, Basavaraj Bommai, J C Madhuswamy, C C Patil,Prabhu Chavan and Shashikala Jolle Annasaheb, who is the only woman cabinet Minister. Among those inducted into the cabinet on Tuesday, four of them - Ashwath Narayan, Prabhu Chavan, Madhuswamy and Shashikala Jolle have become Ministers for the first time.
Lingayats, a dominant community to which Yediyurappa belongs and considered the strong vote bank of the BJP, has got the lion's share in this expansion, with seven from the community inducted into cabinet on Tuesday.
With this, the total strength of Lingayats in the present Ministry has gone upto eight, including the Chief Minister.
The remaining are three Vokkaligas, three from Scheduled Caste, two OBCs, one from Scheduled Tribe and a Brahmin. In district wise representation Bengaluru Urban has four Ministers, Belagavi and Shivamogga (including Yediyurappa)- two, one each from Bagalkote, Dharwad, Gadag, Chitradurga, Chikkamagalur, Haveri, Udupi,Tumkur,Bidar and Kolar districts.
Seventeen districts have not got any representation so far. While the induction of most of the Ministers was along expected lines, Savadi was an exception as he is not a sitting legislator and had lost the Assembly elections last year. His induction has also given rise to speculation that he may be considered as the party candidate during the bypolls from Athani constituency that fell vacant due to the resignation and disqualification of Mahesh Kumatahalli, who had won the seat in the 2018 polls on a Congress ticket.
Among the interesting things that caught the attention of everyone at the swearing-in was the attire and headgear of Prabhu Chavan, who hails from Banjara community. While all other Ministers took the oath in the name of the god, Chavan took the oath in the name of "Mata Jagadamba" and "Sant Sevalal".
Interestingly, Madhuswamy while taking the oath, committed an error by stating that he was taking the oath "as the Chief Minister" instead of Minister, which created a flutter among those present at the event. The Minister immediately corrected himself and completed the oath.
He also immediately had a small chat with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who was on the stage, supposedly about the error, and both laughed it off. Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 Ministers, including the Chief Minister. With this "limited" expansion, 16 Cabinet berths are vacant, leaving space for some of the disqualified former Congress and JDS MLAs who helped bring down the coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy to get on board.