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Choosing ministers a tough task for BJP in Karnataka

Tuesday 31 January 2006, by JAYASRI*Alladi

Top brass trying to accommodate all "deserving candidates"

BANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ministry-making exercise in Karnataka seems to be running into rough weather.

The party top brass is trying to accommodate all the "deserving candidates," who ought to be rewarded for bringing the party to the threshold of power.

Party leader B.S. Yediyurappa, national general secretary and MP H.N. Ananth Kumar and State unit president Jagadish Shettar were on Monday closeted with the party’s national vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu, working out the "seat matrix" that will satisfy caste equations and regional balance and organising the seniority and merit list, without ruffling any feathers. The possibility of those who do not get "plum portfolios" sulking is something the leaders cannot afford to ignore.

There are also the nine members of the Legislative Council, a couple of whom started as foot soldiers of the party years before Mr. Yediyurappa, Deputy Chief Minister-designate, entered politics.

To buy more time, the BJP has decided to toe the line of its partner, the Janata Dal (Secular). It would announce the first list of Ministers after February 10, the day for Chief Minister-designate H.D. Kumaraswamy to prove his majority in the Assembly. Not all the 17 berths allotted to the BJP would be filled in the first phase, party sources said.

The BJP has 79 legislators. Of these, 51 are first-timers, 11 have been elected twice and 17 are third-time entrants. The four senior leaders - K.S. Eshwarappa, who has been the party’s State unit president, Araga Jnanendra, G. Basavanappa and Mr. Yediyurappa - hail from Shimoga district.

The names that are doing the rounds are those of Mr. Shettar, C.M. Udasi, R. Ashok, Katta Subramanya Naidu, C.T. Ravi, MLAs; and S. Acharya and Ramachandra Gowda, MLCs.

Shakuntala Shetty is the party’s only woman MLA. She is most likely to find a berth. Of the two women MLCS, Shobha Karandlaje is quite junior and Vimala Gowda’s term ends in June. Many aspirants are lobbying with Mr. Yediyurappa.

See online : The Hindu

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