Alladi Jayasri

Choosing ministerial nominees will be difficult

The BJP has been allotted 17 berths in the ministry The party will have to consider the claims of veterans and loyal workers The leadership will also have to satisfy the various factions in the party

BANGALORE: The day after B.S. Yediyurappa became the first person from the BJP to become the Deputy Chief Minister of the State, his official residence on Racecourse Road was filled with well-wishers.

Mr. Yediyurappa, till recently Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, called on his neighbour and KPCC President M. Mallikarjun Kharge, along with his family.

`Cooperation'

Mr. Kharge assured him of his party's "cooperation" on all programmes for the welfare of the people, but pointed out that "the new coalition Government will be watched, and we will take our time before giving our opinion."

Candidates' selection

Though most leaders chose to relax after the hectic activity of the past few weeks, Mr. Yediyurappa concedes that the leadership is preoccupied with the nitty-gritty of ministry making. The task of selecting candidates to fill the 17 ministerial berths allotted to the BJP is quite daunting.

"The next task ahead of us is the trust vote on February 8. Once that is behind us, we will get down to the task of selecting the ministers from the BJP," he said.

The State BJP leadership, including the party President Jagadish Shettar who is expected to be made minister, will be drawing up the list in consultation with the party top brass in New Delhi. Apart from party President Rajnath Singh, party General Secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, will also play a major role in short-listing the candidates.

The dream list will have to consider the capabilities of the legislator, as well as reward the veterans, acknowledge the first-time MLAs, and accommodate some among the nine members of the Legislative Council as well, party sources point out.

Key issue

But the key issue is to satisfy the factions within the BJP, which is quite a divided house, with loyalties doled out to Mr. Yediyurappa, Mr. Shettar and Mr. Ananth Kumar.

Till now, the aspirants were persuaded to set aside their misgivings until the swearing in of the Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister and Mr. Yediyurappa as Deputy Chief Minister.

The party leadership is now trying to buy more time till after the trust vote.

However, party sources say the 17 names have been finalised and they will be revealed "at the appropriate time."

Common Minimum Programme

By that time, the contours of the Common Minimum Programme of the BJP-JD (S) coalition will be revealed, and candidates' suitability to the portfolios falling to the BJP basket will fall in place, according to sources in the BJP.

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