T.S. Ranganna

14 of them are first-time Ministers; 12 more posts vacant

BANGALORE: In the first expansion of the two-week old Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday inducted 20 Ministers 11 from the BJP and nine from the Janata Dal (S).

Governor T.N. Chaturvedi administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new Ministers on the flight of steps of the Vidhana Soudha from 10.10 a.m. All the 20 are Cabinet Ministers.

What is striking about the expansion is that 14 of those sworn in have become Ministers for the first time. As the BJP is in power for the first time in the State, 10 of its 11 Ministers are entering the Government for the first time. The only exception is C.M. Udasi, a former Minister in a Janata Dal Government. Most of the BJP Ministers have long experience in public life in the State.

The expansion raises the size of the Ministry to 22 and there are 12 more posts to be filled. The coalition partners have a quota of six each in the vacancies. It has been agreed between the two that the BJP will have 18 Ministers and the JD (S) 16. In the first instalment of expansion, women have been excluded.

Large gathering

The swearing-in ceremony was watched by a large number of invitees and thousands of supporters of the new Ministers.

It was a repeat of the jubilation witnessed on February 3 when the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa were sworn in.

Care was taken to complete the swearing-in ceremony by 10.45 a.m. so as not to disturb the proceedings in the Karnataka High Court which faces the Vidhana Soudha. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Mr. Kumaraswamy, Mr. Yediyurappa, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Krishna, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, senior leaders of the BJP M. Venkaiah Naidu, H.N. Ananth Kumar and Janata Dal (S) leader N. Thippanna.

Dignified swearing-in

The fact that the Ministers were sworn in one after the other lent dignity to the occasion. When there was no ceiling on the size of the Ministry, groups of Ministers were sworn in on some occasions. The first to be called was Basavaraj H. Horatti of the Janata Dal (S) followed by K.S. Eswarappa of the BJP. The Janata Dal (S) first and the BJP next order was maintained till the 17th Minister was sworn in.