Shettar puts drought in focus on Day One

Shettar puts drought in focus on Day One

34-strong state cabinet takes oath

Shettar puts drought in focus on Day One

After crippling the administration for nearly a fortnight with its intra-party power struggle, the ruling BJP on Thursday got back to business with the newly sworn-in Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and his 33 member full-fledged ministerial team taking stock of the severe drought situation in the State.

Shettar, the third BJP chief minister in the party’s four-year-old government in Karnataka and 23rd in the State’s history, was sworn in by Governor H R Bhardwaj earlier in the day.

The new chief minister, who held a meeting with heads of departments in Vidhana Soudha, reviewed the administration and directed the officials to focus on tackling drought by ensuring effective implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and supply of drinking water and fodder in the affected areas.

Remarking that the various social security pension schemes launched were not properly reaching the people, he asked the officers to take appropriate steps to set right lapses. As soon as D V Sadananda Gowda became the chief minister, he had tried to streamline many pension schemes as there were fake claimants.

Shettar also held the first meeting of his cabinet, which includes two Deputy Chief Ministers – K S Eshwarappa and R Ashoka, immediately after Governor Bhardwaj administered the oath of office and secrecy to them at Raj Bhavan.

The portfolios to the new ministers are likely to allotted on Friday. There was no discu­ssion on finding a replacement for the post of president of the state unit, now that Eshwarappa has joined the government.

Addressing his maiden press conference, Shettar said he would strive to provide a “transparent and corruption-free” administration in the remaining 10 months.

“I will continue with all good schemes and programmes started by my predecessors, Yeddyurappa and Sadananada Gowda, and concentrate on their effective implementation. The immediate priority of my government is tackling drought,” he stated. Ironically, four members of Shettar’s ministry – V Somanna, C P Yogeeshwara, C  T Ravi and Murugesh Nirani – are facing serious corruption charges. However, the party MLAs who were allegedly involved in porngate scandal have been kept out of the new ministry.

Triggering discontent

The party’s move to form a full-fledged cabinet with an eye on the next Assembly elections triggered discontent among many ministerial aspirants who could not make it to the cabinet. It is for the first time the BJP has formed the full-fledged cabinet since coming to power in May 2008.

Nine new ministers inducted are: D  N Jeevaraj, C  T Ravi, B J Puttaswamy, Appachu Ranjan, Kalakappa Bandi, Sunil Vallyapure, Anand Singh, Sogadu Shivanna and Kota Srinivas Poojary. While all 23 members of the previous D V Sadananda Gowda cabinet have been retained, two ministers of the Yeddyurappa cabinet who were dropped – S K Bellubbi and Aravind Limbavali – have made a comeback.

For the first time ever, the State has two deputy chief ministers. Three of the ministers are MLCs.
Of the 34 members of the cabinet, the Yeddyurappa group has taken the lion’s share of 15, including the chief minister’s post. Nineteen other ministers belong to the group op­posed to Yeddyurappa including BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar, State party chief K S Eshwarappa and Sadananda Gowda.

The Lingayat predominance in the government continues. As many as 11 ministers, including the Chief Minister, belong to the caste. Vokkaligas have got six berths; the SCs and backward classes have five each; Brahmins have three ministers and the STs have two. There is no representation for the minority communities in the BJP government.

As far as representation for women, Shobha Karandlaje continues to be a minister.
Seven districts - Koppal, Bidar, Chitradurga, Chamarajanagar, Raichur, Mandya and Hassan - have no representation in the cabinet, while districts like Bangalore urban, Belgaum, Chikkamagalur, Davanagere, Tumkur and Uttara Kannada have more than one minister. Udupi, which is a strong base of the BJP, has got only one cabinet berth.

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