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Karnataka speaker quits, to be made minister

November 16, 2009 18:23 IST

Karnataka Assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar on Monday quit the post, paving way for his induction into the ministry on Tuesday as part of a compromise formula evolved to end the recent dissidence against Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Shettar was accompanied by Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, who had spearheaded the revolt demanding Yeddyurappa's removal, when he submitted his resignation to Deputy Speaker K G Bopaiah.

Inducting Shettar, a prominent Bharatiya Janata Party leader from north Karnataka, into the ministry was part of the compromise formula thrashed out by the party central leadership to end the two-week-long crisis that had brought the Yeddyurappa government under the cloud of uncertainty.

In May last year, Shettar reluctantly agreed to become the presiding officer, a move seen by his supporters as aimed at checking his political growth by Yeddyurappa.

Shettar had indicated more than once that Speakership was not his cup of tea.

"Speaker's post is an honourable one. But as an active politician -- I have been a leader of opposition, state BJP president and revenue minister earlier -- feels a bit trapped," said Shettar.

An active politician feels restrained in the post, he said.

Shettar is slated to be sworn-in as a minister on Tuesday.

Shettar is expected to be given a "weighty" portfolio", party sources said.

Shobha Karandlaje, who was the lone woman minister and confidante of Yeddyurappa, had quit as rural development and Panchayat Raj minister on November 9, as per the demand of the rebels.

Yeddyurappa had also shifted some officials including his then principal secretary V P Baligar to placate the dissidents.

The BJP has ample time to decide upon its candidate for the speaker's post as the next session of the assembly is slated to meet only from December 14.

There is a view in the party to elevate Bopaiah but no final decision has been taken, the sources said.

The names of Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development S Suresh Kumar and Public Works Department Minister C M Udasi have been doing the rounds for the speaker's post after it was known that Shettar would quit.

But the sources said the party is not keen to let Suresh Kumar to take the post, as he is considered an effective spokesperson to defend the government. Udasi is not considered suitable for the job, they said.

Shettar said his tenure as speaker had given him "complete satisfaction", adding, he tried to bring in several "reforms", including a training session for legislators by former president A P J Abdul Kalam.
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