Yeddyurappa gets nod for expanding his Cabinet in Karnataka

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New Delhi, Nov 16 (UNI) Decks for inducting ministers from the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) parties seem to have been cleared with the BJP leadership giving its nod for going ahead for a full scale expansion of the government to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting between Mr Yeddyurappa and senior BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh this morning, sources said.

Mr Yeddyurappa himself announced that all the 18 JD (S) ministers would be joining the government on November 21 but had contended that he had discussions with the party leaders and that he would be meeting them in the evening to complete the discussions.

However, sources declined to give details of the discussions that took place between the leaders.

Five BJP ministers, including Mr Yedyurappa, had been sworn in on November 12.

According to the agreement between the two parties, the BJP will have 16 members in the Cabinet while the JD (S) can have 18 ministers. The total strength cannot exceed 34 members.

Both, Mr Yeddyurappa and the BJP sources, declined to discuss the 12 conditions laid out by JD (S) supremo and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

While the BJP sources pointed towards the individual affidavits of the MLAs presented to Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur and President Pratibha Patil which stressed on 'unconditional support' extended to the government, Mr Yeddyurappa said the former Prime Minister himself had stated that they were not conditions but 'suggestions'.

''These suggestions would be discussed across the table after November 19, the scheduled day for seeking vote of Confidence in the Assembly,'' he said.

The Chief Minister claimed the support of 129 BJP-JD (S) MLAs in the 224-member Assembly and expressed confidence that the coalition would last for the rest of the 19 months in office and provide the people with 'quality governance' and propel the state to new levels.

''I have good rapport with JD (S) leaders including Mr Deve Gowda and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy,'' he remarked.

To a query as to who would be the next Deputy Chief Minister, he said it would be decided by the coalition partner.

He said top priority would be accorded to maintaining law and order and communal harmony in the state by the new coalition government to ensure safety to minorities, weaker sections like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and women.

''We will give quality governance for the next 19 months as we have done in the last 20 months,'' he said.

UNI

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