Varthur and Raju Gowda to be Ministers

CM to expand Cabinet on Oct 22; Sringeri MLA Jeevaraj too tipped

They will be sworn between 11.30 am and 12 noon at Raj Bhavan, party sources said. However, till late in the evening the Governor’s office had no communication from the government to the effect.

Rumours were rife during the day that the ruling BJP had set in motion the latest round of Operation Lotus, ‘persuading’ the Congress MLA from Jagalur, S V Ramachandra to resign from the Assembly and hand his resignation letter to the Speaker.

Prakash is likely to get a plum portfolio in return for his support to the government during the trust vote on October 14.  Surpur MLA Raju Gowda, who also goes by the name Narasimha Naik, had identified himself with the rebel BJP MLAs but decided to support the government at the eleventh hour.

Party sources said the Sringeri MLA, D N Jeevaraj had also been sounded for inclusion in the ministry along with Prakash and Raju Gowda on Friday. However, the top brass of the party will take a final decision in this respect during its meeting here on Wednesday night. The party will be watching closely the proceedings in the Karnataka High Court over the disqualification of 11 BJP rebels, on Wednesday.

The matter was a referred to a third judge after a Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar delivered a split verdict. Presently,  there are six Cabinet berths vacant following the sacking of four independent ministers - Shivaraj Thangadagi, D Sudhakar, Venkataramanappa, P M Narendraswamy and two BJP rebels - Anand Asnotikar and Shivanagouda Naik.

Three to four ministerial berths are likely to be kept vacant apparently to lure legislators from the opposition parties.

Lobbying for the Cabinet berths intensified on Tuesday with aspirants parading themselves with their supporters in front of the Chief Minister’s home office, Krishna.

BJP MLC D S Veeraiah was present at Krishna with scores of his supporters. “I am here at the instance of my supporters who feel I need to be given a Cabinet berth”, Veeraiah said. His followers said inducting Veeraiah into the ministry would mete out justice to the ‘right hand’ sub caste of the Scheduled Castes that, according to them, had not received adequate representation in the Cabinet. Maski MLA Prathapgouda Patil and Challakere legislator K Thippeswamy too were at Krishna, seeking Cabinet berths.

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