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Tuesday, October 16, 2001

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T. John to be re-inducted?

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, OCT. 15. The reappointment of Mr. George Fernandes as the Defence Minister has given rise to speculation in Congress circles over the possibility of the reinduction of the former minister of State, Mr. T. John, into the S.M. Krishna ministry.

Mr. John was forced to resign following his thoughtless statement at a function held at the St. Joseph's High School here attributing the January 26, 2001 Gujarat earthquake to divine wrath over the attacks on Christians in that State. Mr. John, a member of the Legislative Council from Kodagu, was at that time Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Infrastructure Development.

Christian organisations have been pleading for his reinduction. It has been noted that except that he was impolitic and sounded heartless in the matter of the devastating earthquake, Mr. John was not facing any charges or inquiry proceedings, unlike Mr. Fernandes.

The Chief Minister, Mr. S.M. Krishna, has also indicated that he would be giving more representation to Lingayats and also one berth to Christians. He has, however, not indicated the date for an expansion of the ministry. It was on October 17, 1999 that he constituted his ministry. However, the intervention of the elections to the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike might come in the way of the expansion or reshuffle of the ministry.

Other than Mr. John, there are two other Christian legislators -- the former chief secretary, Mr. J. Alexander, MLA from Bharatinagar in Bangalore, and Ms. Winifred Fernandes, the elderly party MLC from Udupi District. Mr. Alexander's case has been weakened by the fact that he is a first-time MLA and is also an accused in the Classik Computer case along with the former chief minister, Mr. S. Bangarappa. The case of Ms. Fernandes, who was an MLA during 1972-78 has to be weighed against the fact that, only recently, Mr. Krishna appointed the former minister from Udupi District, Ms. Manorama Madhwaraj, as Chairperson of the State Tourism Development Corporation with the rank of a Cabinet minister.

The Lingayat legislators in the running for a ministership are Mr. M.V. Rajashekaran, MLC, Mr. B.T. Patil Sasanur, senior MLA from Hoovina Hippargi in Bijapur District, and another from Bidar District.

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