BENGALURU: In the name of God, gurus, farmers, Bhuvaneshwari, Basavanna, people of constituencies and even ‘Gau mata’, 29 BJP legislators took oath as ministers in the Basavaraj Bommai cabinet on Wednesday. The BJP Central leadership kept Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on the hook even as the clock was ticking for the oath-taking ceremony of new ministers, which was scheduled at 2.15 pm at the Raj Bhavan.
The high command eventually decided to induct 29 ministers -- three Dalits, one ST, seven OBCs, nine Lingayats including lone woman minister Shashikala Jolle, seven Vokkaligas and two Brahmins. Including Bommai, the cabinet will have 10 Lingayats in an attempt to cajole the community that was simmering over BS Yediyurappa’s teary exit.
In all, 23 ministers from Yediyurappa’s council have been retained, seven have been dropped, and six new faces have been inducted. Though the BJP and Sangh Parivar have been keen on keeping rabble-rousers like Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, CP Yogeeshwara, SR Vishwanath and MP Renukacharya away from the cabinet, contentious candidates like BY Vijayendra and Arvind Bellad too have been kept at bay for now. In an attempt to pacify the cadres, the Sangh Parivar has picked core BJP leaders rooted in the party.While the party has also accommodated ‘newcomers’ -- who quit the JDS-Congress coalition government in 2019 and joined BJP to help the party come to power -- it has been careful to only accommodate leaders from constituencies that it otherwise has little or no foothold in.
Even as Bommai insisted that his cabinet will have equitable regional and caste representation, at least 13 districts, including Kodagu, Mysuru and Chikkamagaluru, have no ministers. Shashikala Jolle is the lone woman minister in the cabinet and the decision to induct her came at the last moment after the party decided to drop K Poornima from Hiriyur. While Yediyurappa had three Deputy Chief Ministers, Bommai will have none.
On July 31, TNIE had reported that the party’s central leadership was contemplating a ‘No-DCM’ formula for Karnataka since its intentions of having DCMs under Yediyurappa did not yield results.
While Yediyurappa is said to have recommended close to two dozen names, barely six made it to the cabinet. It took Bommai five days of camping in New Delhi and meeting central leaders to get the list of ministers approved. Portfolio allocation is still pending and will be the next challenge for the party. The party has decided to keep four cabinet berths free to firefight any trouble that may arise out of the cabinet formation.