Bangalore, Nov 17: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Tuesday inducted Jagadish Shettar, who has resigned as the assembly speaker, into his ministry, a day ahead of party legislators meet here to end continuing dissidence.
The 54-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from north Karnataka was made a cabinet minister as part of the deal to buy peace with dissidents seeking Yeddyurappa’s removal.
He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj at the Raj Bhavan here.
Shettar has been given the Rural development and Panchayat raj portfolio that was held by Yeddyurappa’s close associate Shobha Karandlage before her ouster from the ministry as sought by dissidents led by mining magnates Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy.
Shettar’s induction came a day ahead of meeting of BJP legislators here. Central party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are expected to be present.
The meet may finalise the composition of the coordination committee being set up to ensure Yeddyurappa does not take unilateral decision and carries all his ministers and legislators along.
The meeting assumes importance as Yeddyurappa and the Reddy brothers have been contradicting each other on the role of the committee. While Yeddyurappa and his supporters insist that it would be advisory, the Reddy brothers and their supporters assert that its decision would be final and they would go by it and not the chief minister’s opinion.
They also claim that Sushma Swaraj, with whom they have a rapport, would play a key role in the party and government affairs in Karnataka.
A rattled Yeddyurappa, who is being ridiculed by opposition parties as being the chief minister in name only as he has conceded to several demands of the dissidents, said on Monday that he has prayed to god to ‘give him strength to rule with self-respect’.
Yeddyurappa and several cabinet ministers were present when Shettar, who quit as speaker Monday, took the oath in Kannada in the name of god. A few hundred supporters of Shettar, who moved to the BJP after being active in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), turned the swearing-in ceremony into a boisterous affair.
Shettar was propped up by the dissidents as an alternative to Yeddyurappa during their October-end campaign against the chief minister.
Shettar, a commerce and law graduate, willy-nilly became the rallying point of the ‘oust Yeddyurappa movement’ though he was not one of the rebels. He was, though, keen to be a minister when the BJP’s first government took office in the state in May last year.