The much-delayed expansion of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s Cabinet is now being discussed to happen in January.
While sources rule out a Cabinet reshuffle, 5-6 ministers will be inducted as the BJP high command is said to have given its nod, following party general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh’s visit to the state earlier this month. There are seven Cabinet berths vacant at present.
Pressure has been mounting on the CM to accommodate MLCs M T B Nagaraj and R Shankar, along with recently elected MLA Munirathna among others as ministers.
“Though the high command earlier had plans to change the CM and reshuffle the entire Cabinet, that plan is currently put on the backburner for lack of alternative leadership options. The Central leadership now feels that changing Yediyurappa could hurt the Lingayat vote bank, which has backed BJP election after election in recent years,” one source said.
Moreover, expert maneuvering by the CM to secure his vote bank - announcing Karnataka Veerashaiva Lingayat Development Corporation and proposing inclusion of the Lingayats in the central OBC list - is said to have helped his case, in remaining at the helm of administration.
Yediyurappa will be allowed to go ahead with the Cabinet expansion after gram panchayat polls whose results will be declared on December 30, it is said.
MLC C P Yogeeshwar and MLAs from Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu districts are expected to make the cut.
“Names of Sullia MLA S Angara, Karkala MLA V Sunil Kumar and Kodagu MLAs K G Bopaiah and Appacchu Ranjan are doing the rounds,” party sources said.
The party hoped to address the dissatisfaction over lack of ministers from a few districts which are bastions of the saffron party.
Central party office-bearers who handle Karnataka affairs have consented for the expansion and have asked Yediyurappa to send a list of names to be inducted as ministers. They are likely to be sworn in during the first or second week of January, sources added.