Even before results, BJP discusses Cabinet rejig

Election staff check the EVMs at a polling booth in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH Photo

Ahead of the crucial bypolls, there is talk within the BJP circles that a Cabinet reshuffle will be imminent after December 9, when the results will be out.

This also shows that the BJP is already planning its moves with the conviction that it will win enough seats to remain in power. 

Over a dozen berths have been kept vacant to accommodate the disqualified legislators who are contesting the bypolls on the BJP ticket. Incumbent ministers with multiple portfolios are expected to lose some of them during the reshuffle.

Though the situation will only arise when BJP wins more than six of the 15 constituencies, sources say that BJP leadership has warned various ministers in-charge of constituencies of repercussions - including being stripped of Cabinet berths.

According to Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who is one among those on shaky ground, Cabinet expansion will be completed within a week after the results. Meanwhile, rumours are rife that Savadi’s head will be the first to roll if the BJP fails to win Athani constituency, which he represented earlier. 

Apart from the possibility of some being stripped off their berths, the BJP leadership is also expected to rejig the state cabinet. During the process, ministers with some key portfolios such as Home, Revenue, Water Resources and others are expected to be changed. With Revenue Minister R Ashoka tipped to become the Home minister. Bommai, who currently handles the Home portfolio, is learnt to have set his eyes on Water Resources department.

Disqualified legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi’s victory in Gokak will pile more woes on the government as he is said to have been promised a
deputy chief ministerial position. Fulfilling the promise made to Jarkiholi will be a challenge as, then, Belagavi district will have two deputy chief ministers.

That, along with the possible induction of disgruntled legislator Umesh Katti who also hails from Belagavi, will put the saffron party at the risk of being accused of regional disparity. “If Ramesh is made DyCM, it is unlikely that Savadi too will remain in the same post. Either BJP won’t induct Ramesh as DyCM or Savadi will have to forfeit his berth for Ramesh,” BJP sources said.

Meanwhile, party leaders expect some bickering within the party ranks soon after Cabinet expansion as it would be difficult to please BJP hopefuls aspiring for a ministerial berth, sources added.

 

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