Anxious BSY awaits central nod on Cabinet expansion

Anxious BSY awaits central nod on Cabinet expansion

B S Yediyurappa

With discontentment brewing among ministerial aspirants whose patience is wearing thin, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is on his toes to get the BJP central leadership’s nod to expand his Cabinet. 

Disqualified legislator H Vishwanath made it clear that all 17 legislators who helped the BJP come to power should be made ministers. “All 17 of us are together. It’s our responsibility to ask (to be made ministers), because we paved the way for an unconstitutional government to be demolished and a new one to come to power. All 17 should be given (ministerial positions),” he said.

Yediyurappa, meanwhile, said he was ready to rush to Delhi any time to hold talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to get the Cabinet expansion cleared. “In fact, Shah had given me time today (Monday), but I didn’t go as I had to attend an important function in Deodurg. If he gives me time, I will go tonight. If possible, I will cancel all my events on Tuesday and go to Delhi.”

The chief minister also said that since Shah was slated to visit Karnataka on January 18, he would hold talks with him while he was here and expand the Cabinet. 

Yediyurappa also said he will attend the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. Last week, he had said he was not willing to go, in what was seen as the CM posturing to mount pressure on the central leadership on Cabinet expansion.

The global event is scheduled to be held from January 21 to 24. Yediyurappa is expected to join Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Mansukh Mandaviya, along with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.

“I’ve decided to go (to Davos) because there’s insistence. The Centre is sending me, so I’ll have to go,” he said, reiterating that the Cabinet will be expanded before he boards the flight on January 20. “I want it done before I leave.”

There are 16 berths vacant in the 34-member Cabinet. Yediyurappa is under immense pressure from ministerial aspirants, who include the newly-elected legislators who were earlier with the Congress and the JD(S), as well as native BJP legislators.

The chief minister will have to induct at least 12 Congress-JD(S) turncoats, 11 of whom won the recent bypolls on BJP ticket. But there is speculation that the party’s central leadership is not keen on inducting all of them. 

“Our ministerial aspirants needn’t worry about speculation. I’ll do what I have promised,” Yediyurappa said.

Later in the day, when asked if all of them will be inducted, he said, “It depends on what Shah decides. I’ll do as he advises.”

Chikballapur legislator K Sudhakar reiterated that the newly-elected MLAs trust Yediyurappa.

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