Jagadish Shettar, who had become a rallying point for dissidents during the recent rebellion against Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, was sworn-in as a cabinet minister on Tuesday.
Shettar resigned as Assembly Speaker on Monday to join the government, as part of the compromise formula drawn up by the Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership to end the two-week long crisis but failed to bring his supporters into the ministry.
The induction of Shettar, a prominent leader from north Karnataka, meets another condition of the dissidents who had propped him up as an alternative to Yeddyurappa in the event of change of guard. Yeddyurappa had transferred several top officials including his Principal Secretary V P Baligar and had his confidante and the only woman minister Shobha Karalandje quit to buy peace with the rebel camp.
Shettar, a former state unit party president, who hails from the dominant Lingayat community to which Yeddyurappa also belongs, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor H R Bharadwaj at the Raj Bhavan. Ministers from Bellary -- G Karunakara Reddy, G Janardhana Reddy and B Sreeramulu -- who spearheaded the rebellion against Yeddyurappa, met Shettar at his residence before the swearing-in and accompanied him to Raj Bhavan.
"It's a closed chapter. There is no need to remember that. We have to move forward," Shettar said before the ceremony when he was asked about the recent dissidence. Shettar has been allocated the portfolio of rural development and panchayatraj, which was held by Karandlaje, who was accused by rebels of interfering in other ministries.
The BJP high command also set up a 14-member coordination committee today to oversee the affairs of the Yeddyurappa government, thereby meeting another condition of the rebels who were upset over Yeddyurappa's style of functioning. Party sources said the committee, which has 12 members and two invitees, includes Yeddyurappa, state unit president D V Sadananda Gowda, national general secretary Anantkumar, Shettar and Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy.
Sources said Sadananda Gowda would head the committee, as against the demand by dissidents' that senior leader Sushma Swaraj or Ananth Kumar should lead it. Sources said the coordination committee would meet in Bengaluru on Wednesday ahead of the legislature wing to discuss various issues including the implementation of the compromise formula evolved by the central leadership early this month to end the revolt against Yeddyurappa's leadership.