Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday said the much awaited expansion or reshuffle of his cabinet will be finalised within three days and a programme will be planned thereafter for the swearing-in of new Ministers.
“Regarding cabinet expansion I have discussed with our (BJP) national president JP Nadda on- what to do, how to do it, in what way changes have to be made. According to me in two days he will confirm and in three-four days, a programme will be planned for the swearing-in of new ministers,” Mr Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters, he said within three days everything will be finalised.
Responding to a question about a few aspirants pitching for their induction into the cabinet by dropping some incumbent ministers and their holding separate meetings, Mr Yediyurappa said, “such discussions keep happening. MLAs will express their opinion, I would not like to discuss about it.”
As the wait continued for the cabinet exercise, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi earlier in the day said at Kalaburagi that the BJP high command was likely to communicate its decision to the CM in about a week’s time.
Mr Yediyurappa had met Mr Nadda in New Delhi on November 18 to discuss the cabinet exercise, following which he had said the party national president has sought a couple of days time to consult other leaders on the matter.
Developments in Delhi on Wednesday was seen as a repetition of sorts for Mr Yediyurappa, as he was sent back with a similar reply by Mr Nadda, when the Chief Minister had gone with a proposal to take up cabinet expansion exercise in September, ahead of the monsoon session of the state legislature.
Political activities have intensified within the ruling BJP camp in the state after Mr Yediyurappa on November 10 indicated that cabinet reshuffle was on the cards after the party’s victory in the bypolls to two assembly constituencies.
The Chief Minister had then hinted about reshuffle by dropping or inducting some Ministers.
The cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope walk for Mr Yediyurappa, considering that there are too many aspirants.
Several legislators have openly declared their aspirations and political hobnobbing is also taking place within the BJP circles.
Several aspirants including 8-time MLA Umesh Katti, who has been sulking for some time now on being denied a chance in the past, also Chief ministers political secretary MP Renukacharya, among others, have met Yediyurappa pitching for their induction into the cabinet.
A few MLAs had met BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel on Thursday.
If Katti is inducted, Belagavi district’s representation in the cabinet will increase to five and legislators from other regions are opposed to it, and have reportedly put pressure on the leadership to drop one or two ministers from the district, if the senior legislator is inducted.
According to sources, some senior MLAs have demanded that the party’s old guard who have been elected as legislators successively be inducted this time.
Meanwhile, Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has met BJP national general secretary BL Santosh in New Delhi.
According to party sources, Mr Jarkiholi is said to have lobbied for Congress-JD(S) rebels who joined BJP along with him last year and helped the party come to power.
Recently some BJP legislators had met at Jarkiholi’s residence and had reportedly discussed cabinet exercise.
Terming the meeting as casual, Mr Jarkiholi said, “I had earlier too said that those who had sacrificed and come (to BJP) should not face injustice, but CM and leadership will take final decision…we have made a request and we will abide by party decision.”
While several of the old guard like Katti are waiting for a chance to be inducted into the Ministry, Congress-JD(S) rebels like AH Vishwanath, R Shankar and MTB Nagaraj, who helped the BJP come to power and are now party MLCs, are also aspiring for slots.
As per the agreement, Mr Yediyurappa will also have to keep space for Munirathna, following his win from Rajarajeshwari Nagar seat in the November 3 bypoll and also for Pratap Gowda Patil who needs to win the Maski bypoll that is yet to be announced.
The cabinet currently has 27 members, and seven berths are still vacant.