Unmindful of the fallout of the swift developments of Monday which ranged from threat by a minister to commit suicide to an MLA spearheading a team of 20 MLAs who wants to resign, the Chief Minister’s Office has requested Raj Bhavan to make arrangements for the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers on September 22, at 9.30 am. The request to Raj Bhavan was made soon after Yeddyurappa and State party president K S Eshwarappa returned from New Delhi in the evening after their two-day talks with party leaders.
However, there is no official word on whether the chief minister will just fill the vacant three ministerial berths or drop some ministers to accommodate new faces. Rumours were rife that the chief minister will drop three ministers to have as many new entrants.
If sources are to be believed, the axe may fall on ministers Aravind Limbavali, Shivanagouda Nayak and Goolihatti Shekar.
Those who may make it to the Cabinet are: A Ramadas, C H Vijayashankar, C C Patil and A Narayanaswamy besides Shobha Karandlaje and V Somanna, who are sure of becoming ministers again.
The day witnessed high drama with a good number of MLAs, including some ministers, issuing threats to the chief minister as well as the party. The first one to come out with a theatrical statement was Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Goolihatti Shekar. He said he would commit suicide if dropped from the Cabinet. There are allegations that he worked for the JD (S) candidate in the just-concluded Kadur by-election to the Assembly.
Then came the claim by Sagar MLA Belur Gopalakrishna who threatened to destablise the party government if he is not given a ministerial berth.
Independent MLA and Minister Goolihatti Shekar told reporters: “I don’t know what turn it will take if I am dropped. It may even take the form of suicide. Let the BJP hoist its flag on my body.
“It was because of Independent MLAs, including me, that the BJP could form the government. The chief minister had promised to keep me in the Cabinet for a full term. If he drops me, it amounts to a breach of trust,” Shekar said.
Gopalakrishna, on his part, said nearly 20 “like-minded” party MLAs led by Excise Minister M P Renukacharya will submit their resignations to the governor on Tuesday if he fails to make it to the Cabinet. The MLA did not come out with the names of his supporters who are ready to sacrifice for his sake. Renukacharya, who is on a US trip, is returning to Bangalore on Tuesday.
Gopalakrishna, who was earlier identified with the Bellary Reddy brothers’ camp, is now playing a caste card in securing what he wants. He alleged that the Idiga community to which he belongs is neglected by Eshwarappa. Senior party MLA S K Bellubbi resigned as chairman of Karnataka Vidyut Kharakane Limited, a state-owned company, to putforth his demand to become a minister again. The chief minister had shunted him out of the Cabinet earlier to accommodate Umesh Katti.
Library Minister Shivanagouda Naik, who hopped from the Janata Dal (Secular) to BJP, has sought the powerful Reddy brothers’ support to ensure that the axe does not fall on him. Fisheries Minister Anand Asnotikar, while appealing to the chief minister to drop those ministers who were involved in scams, remained inactive and tarnished the party’s image. He expressed confidence that he would not be ‘sacrificed’ by the chief minister.
As soon as the chief minister entered his residence on Race Course Road, it almost turned into a party office with hundreds of leaders and their supporters turning up. Eshwarappa camped with the chief minister to talk and listen to the party leaders and workers.
DH News Service
* Minister Goolihatti Shekhar threatens to commit suicide
* MLA Belur Gopalakrishna says he & 19 others to resign on Tuesday
* Minister Asnotikar says scam-hit ministers should go
* Shivanagouda Naik threatens to resign as MLA
* MLA S K Bellubbi demands berth in Cabinet
* CM’s next move depends on top leaders’ suggestions