BSY to discuss cabinet expansion with Shah

BSY to discuss cabinet expansion with Shah

With no appointment yet to meet the BJP top brass in New Delhi to discuss the expansion of his ministry, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday said he would discuss the matter with party president Amit Shah during the latter's visit to the state next week.

"On January 17-18 Amit Shah is coming here (Karnataka). If he gives me time I will go (to Delhi), or else will talk to him here (when he visits) and take permission for cabinet expansion and do whatever possible in his presence," Yediyurappa told reporters here.

The Chief Minister had said on Thursday that he would leave for New Delhi, probably on January 11 or 12, to discuss the cabinet expansion with the BJP high command and was waiting for an appointment from national leaders. Shah will be in the state next week to address a huge rally at Hubballi on January 18 as part of the BJPs nationwide out-reach programme to create awareness among the people about the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Yediyurappa had earlier indicated that the cabinet expansion was likely after Sankranti (January 15), but sources said it may be slightly delayed now as the Chief Minister is yet to hold discussions with the high command on the matter. With cabinet expansion on the cards, Yediyurappa has also hinted that he may not travel to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum meet later this month.

As the Chief Minister has already made it clear that 11 of the disqualified JDS-Congress MLAs who got re-elected in the December 5 bypolls on BJP tickets will be made ministers, lobbying has been on within the party for the remaining ministerial berths. Currently, there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength is 34.

However, with reports that the high command may not be keen on making all 11 re-elected legislators, whom Yediyurappa has assured would be made ministers, it remains to be seen how things turn out. The Chief Minister will not have it easy to carry out the cabinet expansion since he has to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as promised and also make a place for old guards, upset at being "neglected" in the first round of the induction exercise. He also has to give adequate representation to various castes and regions and also deal with the allocation of key portfolios.

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