Signalling a delay in the expansion of his ministry, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said he may not go to New Delhi for about a week to discuss it with the BJP high command. After his government retained a majority in the Assembly by sweeping the December 5 by-polls, Yediyurappa had said he would be travelling to Delhi soon to hold discussions with the BJP central leadership on the Cabinet expansion.
"For three-four days I will not go (to Delhi), whenever national president (BJP- Amit Shah) ask me to come, I will go. Most probably I may not go for a week," Yediyurappa told reporters in response to a question about his New Delhi visit.
There is talk within BJP circles that the Ministry expansion may get delayed as Dhanurmasa (considered inauspicious month among Hindus) begins on December 16 or 17 and would end with Makar Sankranti in January third week. The ruling BJP had swept the by-elections winning 12 of the total 15 seats, helping the four-month-old Yediyurappa government retain majority in the Assembly. Meanwhile, lobbying has intensified for ministerial berths, by both old guard and new entrants.
Yediyurappa has made it clear that 11 disqualified MLAs (of the total 13 fielded by BJP), who successfully contested the by-polls on party tickets, would be made Ministers. Cabinet expansion would not be an easy task as Yediyurappa would have to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as he had 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, that currently has 18 ministers including the Chief Minister, and the sanctioned strength is 34.