Heat on Yediyurappa to expand team

B S Yediyurappa

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday defended the delay in the formation of his Cabinet even as pressure is mounting on him from within the BJP and outside to constitute the council of ministers.

Since taking oath as chief minister, Yediyurappa has been leading a one-man show in the government by chairing Cabinet meetings and holding discussions with officials.   

“A government, be it one member or 25 members, is a government,” Yediyurappa told reporters. The lack of ministers, he said, was not an obstacle for him to carry out “day-to-day transfers and administration”.

The expansion may happen only after August 8, subject to the central leadership's approval. “Ours is a national party. I will go to Delhi on August 6-8. I will try to expand the Cabinet as soon as possible,” Yediyurappa said. “But our central leadership must give permission.”

Meanwhile, lobbying has intensified within the BJP with as many as four deputy chief ministerial hopefuls — K S Eshwarappa, R Ashoka, B Sriramulu and Govind Karajol. Apparently, though, both the BJP central leadership and Yediyurappa are not keen on creating alternatvie power centres in the form of deputy CMs, sources said.

Sriramulu, who was projected as the deputy chief ministerial face, told reporters that the party will have to perform a balancing act. “There are many ministerial aspirants, but the (disqualified) MLAs have to be pacified, too, because they have helped us. The party leadership will also have to look at how seniors in the party can be recognised,” he said.

On his prospects of becoming Yediyurappa’s deputy, he said: “Yes, I was projected as the deputy CM, but given the circumstances now, the party leadership will have to take a decision.”

As many as 23 legislators are expected to be inducted during the Cabinet expansion. While 15 of them will be BJP MLAs, the rebels may grab the remaining berths depending on the outcome of their Supreme Court petition challenging their disqualification. 

The Opposition Congress blamed the ‘turf war’ between the BJP and its ideological parent the RSS for the delay in the Cabinet expansion. “Backdoor CM Yediyurappa...How long should people wait for ministers and development?” the party said in a tweet. 

The H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) also attacked Yediyurappa, and said his was “a government of disgruntled souls.”

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