Karnataka Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri on Sunday administered oath to 13 out of the 15 newly-elected MLAs of Karnataka, who emerged victorious in the December 5 bye-polls. The swearing-in ceremony took place in the Vidhana Soudhaâ€™s Banquet Hall.
While all the BJP MLA-elects and independent MLA Sharath Bachegowda attended the swearing-in ceremony as scheduled, Congress MLA-elects Rizwan Arshad and HP Manjunath gave the occasion a miss. As of now it is not clear if they skipped the ceremony due to the recent stir against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state and country. Both the MLAs could not be reached for a comment. Incidentally, two more persons in Mangaluru have succumbed to their injuries after police opened fire to disperse a group of protesters in Mangalore North Police Station limits on Thursday.
In the results declared on December 9, all rebel MLAs who were previously with the Congress-JD(S) won the byepolls on a BJP ticket, barring MTB Nagaraj and AH Vishwanath. While Sharath Bachegowda, a BJP rebel defeated MTB Nagaraj in Hosakote, Manjunath emerged victorious against former JD(S) candidate Vishwanath in Hunsur.
Former Minister Roshan Baig, who rebelled against the Congress and was not inducted into the BJP, chose not to contest the bye-polls in Shivajinagara, where Congressâ€™ Rizwan Arshad secured a victory.
Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram), BC Patil (Hirekerur), ST Somashekhar (Yeshwantpur), Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), Anand B Singh (Vijayanagar), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), Narayana Gowda (Krishnarajapet) Shrimant Patil (Kagwad) and K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout) won the bye-polls from their previously held seats ensuring further stabilty for the BS Yediyurappa government.
The bye-elections were necessitated after 17 MLAs were disqualified following their rebellion against the then Congress-JD(S) coalition government. Their rebellion brought down the Congress-JD(S) government and paved way for the BJP to come to power.
A majority of these victorious rebels are likely to get plum ministerial posts as announced by CM Yediyurappa both ahead and post- elections.
With the swearing-in complete, the portfolio allocation for the new MLAs are expected to be approved by the BJP central leadership led by the Home Minister and party chief Amit Shah.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, who spearheaded the rebellion against the coalition government, is said to have his eyes on the coveted Water Resource Ministry as the Deputy CM post appears unlikely to be handed to him.
BJP sources had earlier told TNM that KR Puram MLA Byrathi Basavaraj has asked for another coveted portfolio, the Bengaluru Development Ministry. Party insiders claim that both ST Somashekar, the MLA from Yeshwanthpur, and Basavaraj want the same portfolio, which is currently held by CM Yediyurappa.
Meanwhile, Mahesh Kumatahalli, MLA from Athani, is seeking the Small and Medium Scale Industries portfolio, while Vijayanagara MLA Anand Singh has asked for the Ministry of Environment and Forests.