CM buys more time for choosing Lokayukta

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has managed to buy more time for the appointment of the Lokayukta and for Cabinet expansion. He has now said that both would have to wait till the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha bypoll is held on March 18.

The notification for election will be announced on February 22, following which the government can make no announcements, he said in reply to a question on Friday. The party is likely to finalise the candidate for the bypoll in a couple of days. State BJP president K S Eshwarappa has said that the names of Uday Kumar Shetty, party block president in Udupi, and Sunil Kumar, a former MLA, have cropped up as probable candidates.

The seat fell vacant following Sadananda Gowda’s resigning as MP to become an MLC. The last date for filing nominations is February 29.

Gowda said the State budget would be presented after the Centre’s budget on March 16. The Cabinet expansion or reshuffle could be effected only after the byelection. 

The chief minister had announced that the expansion would be done before he makes the budget presentation. If he wants to stick to that, he would have to make permutations and combinations before presenting the budget proposals, in which case it would be between March 18 and 21. In such a short time, no new minister will be able to acquaint himself with the responsibility he gets and take questions in the legislature session.

However, realising that Gowda has no choice but to give up some of the 20 portfolios he is holding, lobbying has begun in earnest for 11 berths. At most, Gowda is likely to fill six to seven berths and keep the rest vacant to ensure that ministerial aspirants do not turn rebels.

MLA Karadi Sanganna’s supporters, who held a meeting, met the chief minister to pressure him to make their leader a minister. Sanganna defected from the JD(S) and joined that BJP following then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s assurance that he would be made a minister.

Other names which are making the rounds are – S K Bellubbi, Appachhu Ranjan, C T Ravi, Suresh Gowda, Goapalkrishna Belur, B P Harish, Sogadu Shivanna, Appuputtanna Shetty, Jeevaraj among others. With too many aspirants, Gowda is bound to face a tough time in redrawing his team, sources in the party said. 

Budget likely on March 21

The State Cabinet on Friday decided to fix March 21 as the tentative date for the presentation of the State budget proposals. Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Law Minister Suresh Kumar said the State budget for 2012-13 would be presented after the bypoll to the Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary seat scheduled to be held on March 18. Incidently, the counting of votes for the bypoll will also be held on March 21.

Porngate

The chief minister held talks with Legislative Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah in Vidhana Soudha. Gowda reportedly discussed the porngate issue with the Speaker following the Opposition’s refusal to be on the House panel.



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