Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday said the much awaited expansion of his ministry will be carried out in three to four days. On his arrival in Bengaluru from Davos after attending the World Economic Forum meet, he reiterated that he will keep up the promise of making disqualified JDS-Congress MLAs, who got re-elected in the bypolls on BJP tickets, as ministers but made it clear that those who lost will not be inducted.
“Tomorrow, Amit Shah (Union Home Minister) is coming, I had discussed with him during the recent visit also, in three to four days cabinet will be expanded, will do it hundred per cent within this month. I will speak to him (Shah) and fix the date, I will also request him to be there (during expansion) if possible,” Mr Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters, he said there was no need for him to travel to Delhi, as he has already had discussion with Amit Shah and has got approval for the exercise.
“I will speak to the leadership once again and release the list (of ministers) and expand the cabinet with swearing-in ceremony in three to four days,” he said.
The Chief Minister who had begun his Davos tour on January 19, returned to the city on Friday afternoon, following which several aspirants met him at his residence.
Mr Yediyurappa, who was anxiously waiting for the high command’s nod to expand his ministry amid intense lobbying by the aspirants, was keen on getting approval for the exercise from Mr Shah last week, ahead of his Davos tour.
Though party sources have said he will have to go to Delhi and discuss with new party national president JP Nadda on the ministry expansion, the Chief Minister has maintained that there was no need for him to travel to the national capital.
Earlier in the day, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said the Chief Minister will hold discussions with Mr Nadda and carry forward the expansion exercise.
Responding to a question as to how many legislators who won the bypolls will be made ministers, Mr Yediyurappa said “You will get to know about it once the cabinet expansion is done, wait till then.”
To a question on talks that only seven of 11 legislators, who won the bypolls after they were disqualified, will be made ministers, he said “there was no truth in that. If there is anything particular, I will think and talk about it, but as I had promised they will get opportunity in the
Asked about disqualified legislators who lost on a BJP ticket during the bypoll like AH Vishwanath (Hunsur) and MTB Nagraj (Hoskote), amid demand that they too should be inducted, he said “that question does not arise at all.”
Also, with the high command reportedly not being keen on making all the 11 re-elected legislators ministers, whom Mr Yediyurappa has given assurance, it remains to be seen how
things turn out.
Not wanting to react on criticism from a few aspirants, about the delay in ministry expansion, he said “it is true that there has been a delay, in three days cabinet expansion will be done. It is my duty to fulfill the promise that I had made to some people, I will fulfill it.”
BC Patil (Hirekerur), one among the 11 re-elected MLAs, said they were “pained” because of the much delay in expansion and their induction into the ministry.
He, however, said “There may be reasons for it (delay), party leadership along with Yediyurappa hopefully will find a solution and distribute power through cabinet expansion soon.”
Mr Patil later met Mr Yediyurappa and said the Chief Minister has assured him about expanding the ministry soon and that he may travel to Delhi if required.
As the Chief Minister has already made it clear that 11 of the disqualified JDS-Congress MLAs who got re-elected in the bypolls on BJP tickets will be made ministers, lobbying has been on in the party for the remaining ministerial berths.
Currently there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34.
The cabinet expansion will not be an easy task for the Chief Minister as he will have to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as promised and also make place for the old guard, upset at being “neglected” in the first round of the induction exercise.
He also has to give adequate representation to various castes and regions in his cabinet and also deal with allocation of key portfolios.
Also, disqualified legislator R Shankar who was not given ticket to contest bypolls, but was promised ministerial post by Mr Yediyurappa, openly expressing his ministerial aspirations, it has added to the Chief Minister’s worry.
Meanwhile, amid talks about the possibilities of cabinet rejig to maintain balance in the ministry, senior minister KS Eshwarappa said “if anyone from the current ministry is asked to sacrifice the post by high command or the Chief Minister, we will have to do it. Not sure whether such a situation will arise or not.”