With several ministerial aspirants continuing their efforts to secure berths in the much awaited cabinet expansion/reshuffle, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said he was awaiting a communication from the BJP high command in two or three days to carry out the exercise.
"We will get to know in 2-3 days," he told reporters in Mysuru in response to a question on the matter. Yediyurappa had met BJP national president J P Nadda in New Delhi last week to discuss expansion or reshuffle of his cabinet, but was asked to wait for clearance from the central leadership to go ahead with the process.
Following this, BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santosh on Monday had met the Chief Minister, and both leaders reportedly held discussions on it. Soon after BJP's victory in the November 10 bypolls to two assembly constituencies, the CM had hinted at a cabinet reshuffle by dropping or inducting some ministers, in consultation with the high command.
One of the ministerial aspirants, BJP MLC C P Yogeshwar, met Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi at the latter's residence today and held discussions. Jarkiholi, who recently met BJP central leaders, told reporters he will bat for Yogeshwar to be made the Minister "till the last moment", though he was advised by some in BJP not to back one who lost the election for the ministership.
Yogeshwar, who lost the 2018 assembly polls, reportedly played a key role in managing Congress-JD(S) rebel MLAs of which Jarkiholi was a part, during their stay in Mumbai ahead of the collapse of the coalition government in 2019. Recently, several BJP MLAs, including the CM's political secretary M P Renukacharya had met Jarkiholi and requested him not to lobby for Yogeshwar as he was not elected by people directly and his induction would scuttle their chances.
Renukacharya, an MLA from Honnali, highlighted the importance of those elected directly by voters in a democracy and said none can accept the claims that the party has come to power because of someone. "....if about 105 of us had not got elected in the 2018 assembly polls, the party could not have come to power. People have to understand this," he said.
In a veiled attack on those claiming that the sacrifice of 17 Congress-JD(S) rebels, whose resignation and subsequent disqualification had led BJP to come to power, he said it has grown into a strong organisation due to its leaders' contributions and it was not right to give that credit to someone else. Most of these legislators who subsequently joined BJP and contested and won tby-polls on it's ticket, are now Ministers.
The cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope walk for Yediyurappa, considering that there are too many aspirants. While several of the old guard like Katti are awaiting a chance to be inducted into the Ministry, Congress-JD(S) rebels like A H Vishwanath,R Shankar and M T B Nagaraj, who helped BJP to come to power and are now party MLCs, are also aspiring for slots.
As per the agreement, 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.