No clarity yet on Ministry expansion during Shah's Karna visit

09:44 AM Jan 19, 2020 | PTI |
Bengaluru: "Berth pangs" seem to be continuing for Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa with no clarity yet on the much-awaited Ministry expansion from BJP national president Amit Shah during his visit to Karnataka on Saturday, party sources said. The Chief Minister, who was anxiously waiting for the BJP high command's nod to expand his ministry, amid intense lobbying by the aspirants, was keen on getting approval for it during the visit. With Yediyurappa travelling to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum meet on Sunday- till January 24, the expansion exercise is likely to take place only after his return. Yediyurappa may travel to New Delhi on his return from Davos to seek approval for the Ministry expansion exercise from the high command, sources said, adding that J P Nadda may be taking over BJP National President soon. Senior party leaders said the issue of cabinet expansion did not formally come up for discussion and that Shah is said to have advised the Chief Minister to come to Delhi after his return from Davos. Hirekerur MLA B C Patil, one among the Ministerial aspirants said he and some other legislators met Shah in Hubballi, but there was no discussion on cabinet expansion. Shah was in the state on Saturday to address a public meeting on the Citizenship Amendment Act as part of BJP's nationwide 'Jan Jagran Abhiyan' in Hubballi. He also attended a couple of events in Bengaluru earlier in the day. As the Chief Minister has already made it clear that 11 of the disqualified JDS-Congress MLAs who got re-elected in the bypolls on BJP tickets will be made ministers, lobbying has been on within the party for the remaining ministerial berths. Currently, there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. However, with some reports that the high command may not be keen on making all the 11 re-elected legislators, whom Yediyurappa has given assurance, as Ministers, it remains to be seen how things turn out. Cabinet expansion will not be an easy task for the Chief Minister as he will have to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as promised and also make place for old guards, upset at being "neglected" in the first round of the induction exercise. He also has to give adequate representation to various castes and regions in his cabinet and also deal with the allocation of key portfolios. Also, disqualified legislators, who lost on a BJP ticket during the bypoll, openly expressing their ministerial aspirations, has added to the Chief Minister's worry.

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