Suspense over ministry expansion continues in Karnataka as BSY awaits list from Amit Shah

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Bengaluru: Ministerial aspirants in Karnataka continued to be on tenterhooks as Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has not yet received the list of ministers to be sworn in from BJP National President Amit Shah till Monday evening.

It could be like Modi.2 swearing in when suspense over the induction of ministers was maintained till the eleventh hour. The scene could be a repeat of it as there was no word from Delhi about the ministers to be inducted into the ministry on Tuesday.

The swearing-in has been scheduled at 1030 AM at Raj Bhavan and all BJP legislators have been asked to be present at the oath taking ceremony. Governor Vajubai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers. The Chief Minister will have to send the list of those going to be sworn-in to the Governor in advance.

The event could be a simple affair as Raj Bhavan has limited space. The government would not like to send a wrong message that it was indulging in gala celebration when the most parts of the state is either reeling under floods or facing drought-like situation.

Party insiders say that the list may land in the night. However, it could be easily guessed that party heavyweights like former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, former Deputy Chief Ministers K S Eshwarappa and R Ashoka, Dalit leader Govind Karjol, former ministers Sriramulu, Suresh Kumar, Umesh Katti and Somanna are likely to find place in the first expansion. Lingayat leaders J C Madhuswamy and Renukacharya also may make it to the ministry. To keep happy the disqualified legislators, independent member H Nagesh is likely to be accommodated in the ministry. Nagesh had resigned his ministerial post and extended support to the BJP.

The BJP has 105 legislators on its own. Yediyurappa can have 33 ministers, excluding him, as the state has bicameral legislature.

The ruling party wants to keep disqualified legislators, who are growing restive with delay in Supreme Court taking up their petitions challenging disqualification by former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar.

Yediyurappa had remained an unquestioned leader till the changes took place in the High Command. In fact, he had rebelled and floated his own party, Karnataka Janata Party in 2012 before returning to the BJP two years later. The scenario is different this time for Yediyurappa, Lingayat strongman who could take his own decisions. For the first time in his long political career, he has been shackled and not been given a free hand in the ministry formation.

The Chief Minister met many ministerial aspirants and held discussions with them and also reassured them. Most legislators know well that they would not be able to easily blackmail this time around as they are wary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

The Chief Minister is keen on inducting at least 15 ministers and keep the remaining vacant till the disqualification plea is settled in the Supreme Court.

Party sources said that Yediyurappa is also worried that Amit Shah will consult BJP organizational secretary B L Santhosh, who is from Karnataka, on the induction of ministers. For a long time, Yediyurappa and Santhosh, an RSS pracharak, did not enjoy cordial relationship. But this time, Santhosh called on Yediyurappa at his house after the swearing-in.

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