Bengaluru: After keeping its state unit on edge for days, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday officially announced its first list of 17 legislators who will be inducted into the B.S.Yedyurappa cabinet.
Rewarding the dominant Lingayat community for backing the party in the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has included eight people from this caste grouping (including Yedyurappa). Laxman Sangappa Savadi, Jagadish Shettar, V.Somanna, Basavaraj Bommai, J.C.Madhuswamy, C.C.Patil and Shashikala Annasaheb Jolle hail from the Lingayat community, believed to be the single largest in the state.
Shettar is taking up a cabinet minister’s role despite having served as chief minister of the state from July 2012 till May 2013.
The BJP has also included three Vokkaligas in C.N Ashwath Narayan, C.T.Ravi and R.Ashok to help the party make inroads into south Karnataka, where it has little or no presence. The Vokkaligas have, in recent times, consolidated support for former prime minister the H.D.Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) and the BJP has been trying to break this dominance.
The party is rewarding Ashwath Narayan and Laxman Savadhi for their alleged role in shielding rebels with whose help the BJP was able to topple the H.D.Kumaraswamy led Congress-JD(S) coalition government.
Watch Video: CM Yediyurappa expands cabinet in Karnataka, 17 ministers inducted
Savadhi, who is not a member of either House, will now have to be elected within six months. Arvind Limbavalli, the other main ‘handler’ of the rebels, has not been included in the cabinet but is expected to replace Yedyurappa as BJP’s state president.
The cabinet also includes three people from communities classified as Scheduled Caste, including Govind.M.Karjol, Prabhu Chavan and independent legislator H.Nagesh B.Sreeramulu, the BJP strongman and close aide of illegal mining baron G.Janardhana Reddy. Sreeramulu is from the Valmiki community, classified as a Scheduled Tribe. K.S.Eshwarappa from the Kuruba community and Kota Srinivas Poojari from the Billava community are classified as OBCs (other backward classes). Lingayats and Vokkaligas also are classified as OBC in Karnataka.
S.Suresh Kumar is the lone member from the Brahmin community in the 17-member cabinet list of Yedyurappa.
There are four legislators from Bengaluru, six from Mumbai-Karnataka, two from Malnad, two from south Karnataka and one each from Hyderabad-Karanataka, the coast and central districts of the state.