Jagadish Shettar will be sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister on Thursday, along with 31 Ministers, including BJP State president K.S. Eshwarappa and R. Ashok, who will become Deputy Chief Ministers.
Though the swearing-in ceremony was originally scheduled for Wednesday, the BJP put it off by a day, after supporters of the outgoing Chief Minister, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, demanded that the Ministers be sworn in along with the Chief Minister.
The decks were cleared for the 57-year-old Shettar’s elevation on Tuesday, when he was unanimously elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party. The election took place amid high drama and a swift rebellion by Mr. Gowda’s supporters, who wanted the party leadership to commit itself to conceding their demands as a precondition for their attending the Legislature Party meeting. This delayed the meeting by five-and-half hours.
Mr. Shettar’s name was proposed by Mr. Gowda and the former Chief Minister, B. S. Yeddyurappa, and seconded by Mr. Eshwarappa.
Mr. Gowda will meet Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Wednesday to submit his letter of resignation. The Governor will also be informed of Mr. Shettar’s appointment as Legislature Party leader, BJP’s central observer Rajnath Singh said.
As the post of the State BJP president will become vacant after Mr. Eshwarappa becomes Deputy Chief Minister, a new leader will be appointed within a week in consultations with central leaders, sources said. Mr. Gowda’s supporters have been demanding that he be appointed to the post.
Even as the anti-Yeddyurappa camp has been demanding that three Ministers owing allegiance to him be sacked for their alleged involvement in scams, the sources said all 21 Ministers of the present Cabinet were likely to continue.
Mr. Shettar will be the third Chief Minister of the BJP, which came to power four years ago. His efforts to become Chief Minister about a year ago failed when Mr. Gowda defeated him in an election for Legislature Party leader.
Mr. Gowda became the Chief Minister on August 4, 2011 after Mr. Yeddyurappa was asked to resign following his indictment in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.