99% chance of clearance to Cabinet expansion by tomorrow: CM
Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said there are "99 per cent chances" of BJP high command giving clearance to the much-awaited expansion of his Ministry by January 31.
He said he got appointments from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda late Thursday evening to discuss about the expansion and added that he was also looking at the availability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet him as well.
"After meeting them in Delhi, I will come back (to Bengaluru) tomorrow morning. I'm going there to discuss about the cabinet expansion," Yediyurappa told reporters here before leaving for the capital.
Responding to a question whether the Ministry expansion would take place on Friday, he said, "99 per cent, it will get clearance and I'll come from there (Delhi) tomorrow."
According to party and official sources, on getting clearance from the central leadership, the Chief Minister has plans to carry out the Ministry expansion with the swearing-in of new Ministers, most probably on Friday itself.
Yediyurappa on Wednesday indicated about the possibility of a cabinet rejig, noting that the call would be taken by the party leadership.
Ahead of the Chief Minister's trip to Delhi, several Ministerial aspirants like MLAs Murugesh Nirani and K Sudhakar paid a visit to his residence.
Yediyurappa has been anxiously waiting for the nod of the high command to expand his ministry amid intense lobbying by the aspirants.
Opposition parties also have been critical of BJP and Yediyurappa over the "delay" in cabinet expansion, alleging that he was "weak and that the administration has collapsed".
As the Chief Minister has already made it clear that 11 of the disqualified JD(S)-Congress MLAs who got re-elected in the bypolls on BJP tickets would be made ministers, lobbying has been on in the party for the remaining ministerial berths.
However, with party sources indicating that the high command may not be keen on inducting all the 11 of them, with an intention of giving chance for party loyals also, it remains to be seen how things works out.
There are also reports that Yediyurappa may keep some Ministerial berths vacant for now.
Currently there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34.
The cabinet expansion would not be an easy task for Yediyurappa as he has to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as promised and also make place for the old guard. The legislators were "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 deal with allocation of key portfolios.
Despite Yediyurappa categorically ruling out induction of defected candidates who were defeated in the bypoll, the demand for A H Vishwanath (Hunsur) and MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote) to be made Ministers, and disqualified legislator R Shankar who was not given a ticket to contest bypolls, but promised a ministerial post openly expressing ministerial aspirations have added to the Chief Minister's worries.