Yeddyurappa to expand ministry tomorrow

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Bangalore, Aug 26 (UNI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa will expand his cabinet tomorrow by inducting former minister and JD(S) leader Umesh Katti, who recently joined BJP quitting his assembly seat under 'Operation Lotus.' Governor Rameshwar Thakur would administer the oath of secrecy to Mr Katti. The swearing-in ceremony would be held at 1600 hrs at Raj Bhavan, party sources said.

Mr Katti, who was elected to Karnataka legislative assembly in the May byelection from Hukkeri on Janata Dal(S) ticket, defeating BJP candidate Shashikanth Akkappa Naik, resigned from his seat and joined the ruling BJP.

Mr Katti, one of the prominent Lingayat community leader in North Karnataka would be inducted into the ministry in place of Horticulture Minister S K Bellubbi, who stepped down bowing to pressure from the party.

Mr Katti had served as minister in J H Patel ministry during 1994-99.

The ruling BJP, which emerged as single largest party after forming the first ever saffron government in the South with the support of six independents, launched 'Operation Lotus' and succeeded in luring seven legislatures from opposition parties.

While three members have already been inducted into the ministry, three others were promised that they would be appointed as chairmen of various Board and Corporations.

Mr Yeddyurappa, who was sworn-in as Chief Minister on May 30 with 29 ministers effected the first expansion on June 7 by inducting Mr Katta Subramanya Naidu. The second expansion was made on July 30 by inducting three more members who had joined the party by quitting their assembly seats.

UNI MV MSP SP AS1835

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