The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka would expand the ministry on February 6 by inducting 13 more ministers, said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, here on Sunday. “The cabinet will be expanded on February 6 with the swearing-in of 13 legislators as Ministers by Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan,” Yediyurappa told reporters.
It will be the second ministry expansion of the 6-month-old Yediyurappa government.
Of the 13 lawmakers to be inducted into the ministry, 10 were re-elected in the December 5 by-elections, held for 15 seats to fill vacancies caused by their resignations from the Assembly in July 2019 as the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) members.
“Resignations by 14 Congress and 3 JD-S rebels not only caused fall of the 14-month-old JD-S-Congress coalition government on July 23, but also the return of our party to power in the state,” Yediyurappa said.
The Chief Minister, however, didn’t disclose the names of MLAs to he inducted.
Though former Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar disqualified all the 17 rebels and barred them from contesting till the 5-year term of the House ended in May 2023, the Supreme Court in November allowed them to re-contest despite upholding their disqualification.
Joining the BJP after expulsion from the Congress and the JD-S, 13 of them contested by-elections and 10 of them won along with two BJP contestants. The Congress and an Independent won the remaining 3 seats.
By-elections to two of the 17 seats were withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
In the first expansion on August 21, 17 legislators were made Ministers, with three of them as Deputy Chief Ministers. In the 34-member Ministry, including the Chief Minister, three berths are vacant.
“The two legislators who lost the by-elections will not be accommodated, as the apex court ruling on their petitions forbids them from becoming Ministers,” Yediyurappa said.
On R. Shankar, who won as Independent in the 2018 elections from Ranebennur in the Haveri district but joined the Congress on becoming Minister in the last government, Yediyurappa said he would be made Minister after his election to the Karnataka Legislative Council as he didn’t contest by-elections.
Yediyurappa recently met BJP chief J.P. Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and got the names approved.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who is not a member of the House, will file nomination on Wednesday for getting elected to the legislative council to continue in the office.
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