Bangalore: In the second expansion in three days, Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda today inducted five ministers of cabinet rank into his ministry, but kept out the controversial Reddy brothers.
Gowda managed to shrug off pressure by mining magnet G Janardhana Reddy, his brother Karunakara Reddy and their family associate B Sreeramulu to regain ministerial berth.
In today’s exercise that took the strength of the ministry to 27, Balachandra Laxmanrao Jarkiholi, Anand Vasanth Asnotikar, Raju Gowda (Narasimha Naik), C P Yogeshwar and Varthur Prakash (Ind) were administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor H R Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan.
Yogeshwar, Raju Gowda and Prakash are first timers into the ministry. Jarkiholi and Asnotikar had served in the previous B S Yeddyurappa government.
Gowda, who was sworn-in as chief minister on August 4, has still kept seven ministerial berths vacant, keeping the hopes of many ministerial aspirants alive.
On August 8, Gowda, inducted 21 cabinet rank ministers, all of whom were in the Yeddyurappa ministry.
Gowda who came under intense pressure for ministerial slot, rushed to New Delhi this morning, sought the nod of his party high command for the second instalment of ministry expansion and returned by evening to complete the exercise.
The BJP high command has decided to keep away the Reddy brothers following their indictment by the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
Jarkiholi and Asnotikar, the rebels-turned loyalists of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, return to the ministry after a gap of about 10 months.
Yeddyurappa had sacked both of them along with other rebel ministers last October, after they joined dissidents and withdrew support to his government.
Jarkiholi and Asnotikar were among the 11 disqualified rebel BJP MLAs, whose membership was restored by the Supreme Court in May. All the 11 MLAs later supported Yeddyurappa.
Yogeshwar, who managed to win the Chennapatna by-election during April, has been rewarded with a ministerial berth, apparently in a bid to strengthen BJP in old Mysore region and to counter the growth of JDS.
At last after several attempts, luck has smiled on Varthur Prakash, the lone independent to get into the ministry, despite a long list of aspirants among BJP MLAs.
Raju Gowda is also dissident-turned-loyalist to become the minister.
As per the constitutional stipulation, Karnataka can have a strength of 34-member ministry.
Reddy brothers stayed away from the today’s swearing-in ceremony at which Sadananda Gowda, his ministerial colleagues and Yeddyurappa were present.