Cabinet expansion by Jan-end: Karnataka CM BSY

Cabinet expansion by January-end: Karnataka CM BSY

Photo by S K Dinesh

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he will expand his Cabinet by the end of this month, even as anxious ministerial aspirants expressed frustration at the delay. 

Yediyurappa, who returned to Bengaluru from Davos on Friday, also delivered a shock to disqualified legislators H Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj, who lost the bypolls from Hunsur and Hoskote respectively, saying there was “no question” of inducting those who lost the recent bypolls. 

“It’s true that there has been a delay,” Yediyurappa told reporters when asked about the Cabinet expansion. “But it will be done in 3-4 days. By this month's end, it will happen 100%.” 

The CM said that Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari is slated to visit the state on Saturday.

In the 34-member Cabinet, there are 16 berths vacant and 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. 

There are also indications that not all of the 11 who won the recent bypolls will be made ministers. Apparently, the BJP central leadership is willing to allow only 6-7 of them into the Cabinet, so that native BJP leaders can also be accommodated. 

“There’s no truth in that,” Yediyurappa said. “Whatever we have promised will be done.” 

Ahead of the CM's arrival, ministerial aspirants openly lamented the delay in the Cabinet expansion.

“That the Cabinet expansion has been delayed has disappointed us,” Hirekerur MLA BC Patil, who was with the Congress earlier, said. “But I’m confident the CM will do it soon because everybody, including our supporters and constituents, are curious.” 

After meeting the CM later in the day, Patil again expressed confidence that the CM will keep his word. “The CM said he will visit Delhi if need be and expand his Cabinet.” 

Another aspirant R Shankar, an Independent who joined the Congress before he was disqualified, said it was the CM’s responsibility to induct him into his Cabinet.

“I didn’t contest the bypoll (from Ranebennur) based on the CM’s assurance that I will be made a member of the Legislative Council and then a minister. There’s pressure on me from my supporters. Making me a minister is the responsibility of the CM,” he said.