Bangalore: A day
after the third BJP ministry in four years took office in
Karnataka, embarrassment piled on the ruling party with portfolio
allotment delayed due to lobbying and Governor H.R. Bhardwaj
expressing displeasure over tainted legislators in the ministry.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also found itself in a piquant
situation with a legislator from coastal Karnataka Haladi Srinivas
Shetty announcing he would quit the assembly because he was denied
a berth in the ministry at the last minute.
Another BJP legislator and ministerial aspirant M.P. Narayanswamy
had the last laugh, saying: "I will get a chance as and when some
ministers go to jail."
Bhardwaj, who has had frosty ties with the BJP when B.S.
Yeddyurappa was chief minister till last July, Thursday
administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministry
headed by Jagadish Shettar.
Several ministers like V. Somanna, Murugesh Nirani, C. P.
Yogeshwar, C. T. Ravi, are facing cases of illegal land deals. Of
this Somanna, Nirani and Yogeshwar were also in the previous
cabinet headed by D. V. Sadananda Gowda which quit Wednesday. Ravi
is a new entrant to the ministry.
Without naming the BJP leaders to whom he had given the advice,
Bhardwaj said: "I told them to keep out some names as they were
facing court cases."
They (the BJP) said they would consider "but (later) said their
high command has decided the list", the governor, a veteran
Congress leader who was central law minister, told reporters on
the margins of a function here.
Bhardwaj, however, had a word of praise for Shettar. He noted that
Shettar "is generally spoken of well in Karnataka. There are no
allegations against him".
Unlike the frequent sparring he had with Yeddyurappa, who quit
last July over mining bribery charges, Bhardwaj had good ties with
The governor said he was "not happy" when Gowda quit as he was
"gradually going towards clean administration".
Bhardwaj's comment are bound to raise hackles in the ruling party
again as it had sought his recall because of his frequent
criticism of Yeddyurappa government.
The governor has sanctioned Yeddyurappa's prosecution over
corruption and illegal land deals because of which the former
chief minister spent over three weeks in a Bangalore jail.
In the continuing trouble from the party side, Shettar was unable
to allot portfolios because of demands from his ministers for plum
"It will be done in two days," state BJP chief K. S. Eshwarappa,
one of the two deputy chief ministers, told reporters in Mysore,
around 130 km from Bangalore, Friday.
The delay in portfolio allotment has apparently come in handy for
the ruling party to put off convening the assembly session by
It was announced last week the session to pass the budget would
begin July 16. However it may meet only July 19, the day voting in
the presidential poll will also take place.
Halady Srinivasa Shetty, who represents Kundapura in the coastal
district of Udupi, about 400km from Bangalore, told reporters here
that he had not sought a berth in the ministry.
"I was told to come to Bangalore to take oath and at the last
minute I was left out. This is humiliation not only to me but to
my voters who want me to quit the assembly. Hence I am resigning
and the decision is irrevocable," Shetty asserted.
Efforts were on to placate Shetty.
His supporters in Kundapura Friday organized a shutdown which
affected normal life in the busy commercial centre as buses were
off the roads and schools, colleges and commercial establishments