Jagadish Shettar today took oath as Karnataka chief minister, the state's third in three years. Along with Mr Shettar, a new Cabinet was also sworn-in. The highlight of the event: Outgoing chief minister Sadananda Gowda was seen seated next to Mr Shettar in a show of solidarity.
An expanded Cabinet was the result of the blueprint which sources said was devised by central BJP leaders to overhaul its state unit.
Senior party leaders like Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh last night held consultations with chief minister-designate Jagadish Shettar, Karnataka BJP president KS Eshwarappa and Ananth Kumar on the ministry formation exercise in New Delhi.
Sources have told NDTV that in the meeting, the BJP leaders decided to add 11-12 more ministers in the Shettar Cabinet. The Cabinet of outgoing chief minister Sadananda Gowda had 21 members.
According to sources, there are likely to be two deputy chief ministers - the names emerging are that of Mr Eshwarappa and Home Minister R Ashok. But today, they took oath as ministers along with Mr Shettar; the portfolios of deputy chief minister will be handed over to them later, sources said.
Sources also said that the fate of Mr Gowda - forced out by Mr Yeddyurappa who had waged a campaign against the man he had himself chosen to make way for Mr Shettar - is likely to be decided later. They said that the vacancy created by the movement of Mr Eshwarappa to the Cabinet will not be filled immediately and a decision on the party president will be taken later. The Gowda group was holding out for deputy chief minister posts, plum Cabinet portfolios and possibly the state party president's post for Mr Gowda - a plum position as the state heads in for an election later this year.
The move appears to be a balancing act by the BJP central leaders - getting Yeddyurappa loyalist Jagadish Shettar as chief minister, accommodating leaders from the Gowda group in the Cabinet and quell any chances of further rebellion by offering Mr Eshwarappa the post of deputy chief minister.