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Friday, August 12, 2011

KARNATAKA POLITICS: Loyalists seethe, turncoats take cake!

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Anil Gejji, Express News Service / Last Updated : 12 Aug 2011 10:26:06 AM IST.

BANGALORE: In the first-ever BJP government in the south, it is the “outsiders” who are reaping rich dividends whereas the “aborigines” who worked hard to build the party over the years are being shooed away from power.

The Thursday’s Cabinet expansion was a telling example of this fact. While turncoats Balachandra Jarkiholi, Anand Asnotikar, Raju Gowda—earlier all JD(S) MLAs—C P Yogeshwar (a Congress MLA), who were all part of the Operation Lotus, and Varthur Prakash, an independent MLA who supported the government in its hour of need when BJP MLAs rebelled against the then chief minister, were inducted in the Cabinet.

Yeddyurappa had promised Prakash a Cabinet berth then. Prakash was one of the six independent MLAs who supported the minority Yeddyurappa government, which was short of the three seats, to get a simple majority (113) in the 225-member House. After being denied the ministerial berth by Yeddyurappa, he turned hostile to the BJP government and went around the state accusing the BJP government of being the most corrupt in the country. Jarkiholi, Asnotikar and Gowda were among the group of legislators who revolted against Yeddyurappa and almost threatened to throw the government out of power in October 2010.

Though Gowda later returned to the BJP fold after allegedly being promised a Cabinet berth by Yeddyurappa, Jarkiholi and Asnotikar, along with 14 other MLAs, were disqualified by Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah. They returned to the party fold again after the Supreme Court quashed the Speaker’s decision.

When Yeddyurappa was forced to exit following an indictment by the Lokayukta report, Asnotikar, Jarkiholi and Prakash identified with party general secretary H N Ananth Kumar and now got Cabinet berths under their group quota—both Yeddyurappa and Kumar groups have agreed to equally share the 35 Cabinet berths.   

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