Cabinet expansion: BSY to hold crucial talks today

Cabinet expansion: Yediyurappa to hold crucial talks today

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa holds talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda, in New Delhi on Friday.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is expected to hold talks with various Cabinet aspirants on Saturday even as the newly elected MLAs who have positioned themselves as a single bloc demanded that all 11 of them be made ministers.

Of the 16 berths vacant in the six-month-old Cabinet, there are indications that Yediyurappa could induct 13 new faces, a majority of whom will be the newly elected legislators and some native BJP legislators. A few berths will be kept vacant to ward off disgruntlement. 

The talks he will hold are aimed at pacifying disgruntled elements ahead of the expansion. Clarity is also expected to emerge on whether it should be three or four from the native BJP camp who should be inducted into the Cabinet. 

Gokak legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi, the chief architect of the rebellion that toppled the Congress-JD(S) coalition, demanded on Friday that all 11 newly elected MLAs should be part of the Cabinet. “We made the sacrifice; we took the risk. So, all 11 should be made ministers,” Jarkiholi said. “From what I know, all 11 will make it.”

In order to put more pressure on the chief minister, Jarkiholi, a deputy chief ministerial aspirant, also claimed that it was not just the 17 rebels who defected to topple the previous coalition, but as many as 50 legislators who were together.

But as things stand, one or two of the 11 newly elected MLAs may be left out. Apparently, Athani’s Mahesh Kumathalli and KR Pet’s Narayan Gowda could be convinced against pursuing ministerial aspirations. While the BJP leadership expects Jarkiholi to rein in Kumathalli, the party’s Yuva Morcha general secretary B Y Vijayendra is expected to convince Gowda. It was Vijayendra who helped secure Gowda’s victory from KR Pet.

If nine of the newly elected MLAs are picked for induction, four Cabinet berths will be up for grabs for native BJP MLAs. If ten newly elected MLAs are taken in, then there will be three positions for the natives. 

Senior BJP leaders Umesh Katti and Arvind Limbavali are the favourites in the race, with the party still discussing other eligible candidates. 

Meanwhile, disqualified legislator MTB Nagaraj expressed confidence that he would be part of the Cabinet soon. This, despite Yediyurappa making it clear that those who lost the recent bypolls will not be considered for now. “All the five of us, including A H Vishwanath (who also lost) and R Shankar (who did not contest the bypoll) will be part of the Cabinet,” Nagaraj maintained.