Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa today distributed portfolios to the seven new ministers who took oath last week — almost a year-and-a-half after he took over the state’s top post for a third time. There are now 33 ministers in the cabinet, whose total strength is 34 — H Nagesh, who was holding the Excise portfolio, resigned.
Among the five new ministers inducted in the cabinet, Umesh Katti has been given charge of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs while S Angara has been given Fisheries, Ports and Inland Transport. MTB Nagaraj will be the Excise Minister and CP Yogeshwar will be in charge of the Minor Irrigation department. R Shankar has been given Municipal Administration and Sericulture department. Murugesh Nirani has received the Mines and Geology portfolio and Arvind Limbavali has been given the Forest Department.
In a key change, JC Madhuswamy has been divested of Law, Parliamentary Affairs, Legislation and Minor Irrigation portfolios and allocated Medical Education, Kannada and Culture departments.
The Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislation Ministry has been given to Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai as additional charge.
Three of the new ministers — Umesh Katti, Arvind Limbavali and Murugesh Nirani — are loyalists of Mr Yeddyurappa. The inclusion of S Angara is seen as the choice of the Central leadership.
There is also MTB Nagaraj, the extremely rich MLA, who is seen as being rewarded for crossing over from the Congress. Mr Nagaraj had lost the by-election to his old seat of Hoskote, but was made a member of the legislative council.
R Shankar — often referred to as “Pendulum Shankar” for his frequent shifts in loyalty — was an independent who was made minister in the earlier Congress-JDS coalition government just before it collapsed.
Mr Nagaraj, CP Yogeshwar – a former Congressman – and Mr Shankar, are among the five members of the Legislative Council who are now in the cabinet.