Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said a decision on expanding his cabinet will be taken on the advice of the BJP high command, after the winter session of the state legislature, beginning next week.
There are currently 30 Ministers in the state cabinet, including the Chief Minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34.
”The first thing that is now before the government is legislative council polls, then assembly (legislature session), after that on the advice of the leadership, will take further decisions,” Bommai said in response to cabinet expansion.
Winter session of the state legislature is scheduled to be held from December 13 to 24 in the border district of Belagavi.
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A week after taking over as the Chief Minister, Bommai on August 4 had expanded his new cabinet, by inducting 29 Ministers.
With too many aspirants, Bommai is under pressure to expand the cabinet and fill up four vacant berths.
Several senior MLAs, who have been part of the BJP since the beginning, were upset with the cabinet expansion in August, as they were left out and the ”outsiders” got the preference.
The term ‘outsiders’ within the BJP circle refers to those Congress and JD(S) MLAs who quit their party in 2019 and joined the saffron party. They were disqualified from the assembly, following which they contested the bypolls and got elected on the BJP ticket.
Responding to a question on reaching an understanding with JD(S) for the legislative council polls, Bommai said ”H D Kumaraswamy has to tell about the JD(S)’ stand.” There is a heightened buzz over a possible pact between the ruling BJP and JD(S) for the coming legislative council polls, following full display of bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the regional party’s patriarch H D Deve Gowda, in Delhi last week.
The biennial election to the Karnataka Legislative Council from 20 Local Authorities’ Constituencies for 25 seats, due to the retirement of sitting members, will be held on December 10.
State BJP strongman and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has openly sought JD(S) support in the seats where the regional party is not contesting.
The JD(S) has fielded only six candidates, while the BJP and Congress are contesting in 20 seats each.