Cabinet expansion likely in January, hints Yediyurappa

Cabinet expansion likely in January, hints Yediyurappa

B S Yediyurappa. (DH Photo)

Signalling that the much-awaited expansion of his ministry was likely in January, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said he will be going to New Delhi by month end to discuss it with the BJP high command.

He had recently indicated that the ministry expansion was likely to take place after December 20 or 22. "By this month end I will go to Delhi to meet our national president (Amit Shah) and Prime Minister (Narendra Modi), after coming back- those who supported our party and contested and won the polls- will be made ministers as promised to them," Yediyurappa told reporters at Hubballi in north Karnataka.

However, there are talks within BJP circles that the ministry expansion may get further delayed as 'Dhanurmasa' (considered an inauspicious month among Hindus) was on since December 16 and will end with 'Makara Sankranti' in January third week.

Expressing confidence that his government was stable and will complete its term, Yediyurappa said "As we have won 12 seats in the recent elections, we have got an opportunity to do good work for the remaining three and half years without any disturbance.

We will bring in visible changes in six to eight months time." The ruling BJP had swept the by-elections winning 12 of the total 15 seats, helping the four-month-old Yediyurappa government to retain the majority in the Assembly.

Cabinet expansion will not be an easy task as the Chief Minister will have to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as he had promised and also make a place for the old guard, upset at being "neglected" in the first round of the induction exercise. With Yediyurappa making it clear that 11 disqualified MLAs of the 13 fielded by BJP, who successfully contested the bypolls on party tickets, will be made ministers, several senior party legislators have been lobbying hard for their induction. The chief minister will also have to deal with the demand for induction of two disqualified MLAs into the ministry who had contested the bypolls on the BJP ticket but lost besides allocation of key portfolios. He also has to give adequate representation to various castes and regions in his cabinet, that currently has 18 ministers including the Chief Minister, and the sanctioned strength is 34.