BJP Karnataka ministry in for a shake-up

11:14PM Fri 17 Sep, 2010

Bangalore - The two-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministry in Karnataka will soon see a major overhaul to improve its image and functioning. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and senior party leaders begin discussions on Saturday to decide who to include and who to drop.

''A meeting of party leaders will be held on Saturday to discuss the issue,'' Yeddyurappa told reporters on Friday on his return from a five-day trip to China to attend the World Economic Forum meeting.

He declined to indicate what he plans to do. The ministry took power in May 2008.

The Yeddyurappa ministry has been dogged by dissidence and hit by scandals. Many legislators have demanded cabinet berths despite warnings of disciplinary action against them by the state party leadership.

As per constitutional norms, the Karnataka ministry's strength should be 34 inclusive of the chief minister.

There are three vacancies in the ministry and many claimants. The vacancies were created by ministers who quit over scandals.

The latest to resign was Medical Education Minister Ramachandra Gowda over allegations of irregularities in recruitment of non-medical and para-medical staff to Mysore and Hassan medical colleges and hospitals attached to them.

His resignation was accepted by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Friday.

The other two who quit earlier were S.N. Krishnaiah Setty (Religious Endowment) following his alleged involvement in the sale of land to the Karnataka Housing Board at an exorbitant rate and H. Halappa (Food and Civil Supplies), who was accused of raping his friend's wife.

State BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa has hinted that a few party leaders in the ministry may be drafted for organisational work and younger party members may be made ministers.
IANS, 17 Sep 2010