Ahead of cabinet reshuffle and expansion of the 32-month-old Bharatiya Janata Party ministry on Wednesday, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa sacked three ministers, including Gulihatti D Shekar, who had threatened to commit suicide if axed.
The ministers who have been dropped are Shivana Gouda Naik (Adult Education) and Aravinda Limbaval (Higher Education) besides Shekar (Sports). Governor H R Bhardwaj has accepted the recommendation of Yeddyurappa to drop the three ministers, a Raj Bhavan communique said.
The sacking of the ministers came amidst threats of suicide by Shekar and of resignation to their membership by some MLAs, who are lobbying for ministerial berths.
Earlier in the day, Yeddyurappa announced that he would undertake the much awaited reshuffle of the 31-member ministry tomorrow. The sacking was preceded by high drama when a supporter of Shekar threatened to consume poison from a bottle he was carrying in front of Health Minister B Sreeramulu's house but police intervened and stopped him.
A group of supporters of Limbavali stopped Yeddyurappa's entourage while he was on his way for a cabinet meeting, protesting against his removal. Supporters of C T Ravi, a ministerial aspirant, who had sent his resignation from assembly membership to party president, pelted stones at a bus at Hiremagalur in Chikmagalur district, demanding a ministerial berth for him.
Shekar had yesterday threatened to commit suicide if dropped from the ministry, while Naik has said he would resign his assembly membership.
Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, who was the rallying point for dissidents last year, has opposed dropping of independents, including Shekar, and also Naik, who quit JD-S and joined BJP in 2008.