Cabinet formation will be an acid test

Cabinet formation will be an acid test

Shettar will have to take various factions into confidence to have a smooth ride.

Senior BJP leader Jagadish Shettar, who is set to succeed D V Sadananda Gowda as chief minister, will have to do a lot of political jugglery when it comes to deciding his Cabinet.

There are several factions in the party that he will have to keep happy. Foremost would be foe-turned mentor B S Yeddyurappa, whose support was instrumental in helping him reach the helm of affairs.

As many as nine ministers in the Gowda Cabinet had submitted their resignations in support of their demand for a change in leadership.

Shettar, as an obligation, will have to continue these ministers in the Cabinet.

Constitutional norm fixes the cap on the number of ministers in the State Cabinet at 33 (excluding the chief minister).

The Gowda loyalists are bound to demand their share in the Cabinet. Shettar will also have to consider party loyalists, who have been waiting in the queue for four years for a Cabinet berth, before he finalises his list.

Ministers Balachandra Jarkiholi had openly threatened to bring down the government if Gowda was replaced, claiming he had support of 13 legislators. Jarkiholi was not available for comment on Sunday.

A party source said that most of the ministers in the Gowda Cabinet will be retained and will be sworn in along with Shettar on Wednesday, the sources maintained.

The party central leadership is yet to decide on whether to create the post of deputy chief minister.

Home Minister R Ashoka and party State president K S Eshwarappa have been lobbying for the post in the name of balancing caste equations

While Eshwarappa is a Kuruba, Ashoka is a Vokkaliga. Ashoka has been pitching for the post with the argument that Vokkaligas, who are upset with the BJP over the ouster of the community representative Sadananda Gowda, would be pacified with his elevation.

On his part, Eshwarappa’s argument is that his presence in the Cabinet as deputy chief minister would help the party retain its hold on voters of Kuruba community.

In case, Eshwarappa is made Deputy Chief Minster, Sadananda Gowda is likely to be made party chief.

Party central leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, who will arrive in Bangalore on Monday, plan to consult State leaders and report to national president Nitin Gadkari, before taking a final decsion on the issue, sources said.

Shettar will be facing his first legislature session as chief minister on July 16.

The session is expected to pass the full budget as Gowda had sought an vote on account till July end when he presented the budget in March this year.

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