10 MLAs, Defectors From Congress-JDS To Be Made Karnataka Ministers

Karnataka cabinet expansion: BS Yediyurappa said that only Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, who is among the 11 rebel Congress MLAs, was being left out in the second expansion of the six-month old cabinet

10 MLAs, Defectors From Congress-JDS To Be Made Karnataka Ministers

BS Yediyurappa cabinet: Revolt by rebels led to collapse of Congress-JDS Karnataka coalition

Bengaluru:

Only 10 BJP MLAs, all defectors from Congress and the Janata Dal Secular (JDS), will be inducted as ministers in Karnataka today, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has said. "Following my discussion with the party president and other leaders in Delhi, it has been decided to induct only 10 as ministers on Thursday," Mr Yediyurappa told reporters.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place today at 10:30 am at the Raj Bhavan.

Mr Yediyurappa said that only Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, who is among the 11 rebel Congress MLAs who won on BJP tickets in the December by-elections after being disqualified, was being left out in the second expansion of the six-month old cabinet.

"I have assured Umesh Katti will be made minister. As of now, only those who had joined the BJP after resigning from their respective parties will be made ministers. I will take a decision on the rest after my visit to Delhi," the Chief Minister said.

"However, there is no question on Umesh Katti. He will definitely be given a cabinet berth. We are talking to Mahesh Kumathahalli. It might be difficult to accommodate him, but we'll give him some other important responsibilities," Mr Yediyurappa said.

The revolt by the rebels led to the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition in July last year, paving the way for the formation of the BJP government.

At present, there are 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. Sixteen berths are vacant.

On three other "native BJP leaders" whom he had earlier indicated would be made ministers, Mr Yediyurappa said the party high command has asked him to discuss the matter with them in Delhi.

The Chief Minister announced on Sunday that 13 BJP leaders, including the 10 MLAs who had defected from the Congress and the JDS, would take oath today.

On Mr Kumathalli, Mr Yediyurappa on Wednesday said, "It is difficult to make him minister now. I will call him and discuss with him. We will try to give him some other responsibility."

The Chief Minister had earlier promised ministerial positions to all of them. Another leader who he was keen on making minister was Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti, news agency Press Trust of India reported. However, Mr Katti will also not make it to Mr Yediyurappa's cabinet this time, PTI reported.