The much-awaited Karnataka cabinet expansion will be a cabinet reshuffle and is expected to take place only after the 15th, February despite the newly elected legislators aggressively pushing to be inducted in the cabinet, as promised to them.
Republic TV has accessed details of major rehaul Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa intends to carry out. With the BJP winning 12 of the 15 seats that faced bypolls, all under his leadership, he has been given a free hand by the high command to take decisions to strike a balance between various factors being considered before an MLA is given a portfolio- caste, region, experience, loyalty to part and calibre.
The newly-elected MLAs were hoping that a cabinet expansion will take place in the first week of December, right after the results were announced on December 5th. But because of Jharkhand elections and now with polls in Delhi also announced, the high command has put the reshuffle on hold.
Highly placed sources have confirmed that only 9 of the new MLAs will be accommodated in the Karnataka cabinet with Mahesh Kumathalli and Shrimant Patil expected to be left out. Three heavyweight ministers might also be dropped including Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Mines & Geology minister CC Patil. Some reports, however, suggest that Bommai could be given another portfolio, possibly, that of Water Resources.
Three senior BJP leaders- Arvind Limbavali, Umesh Katti and Murugesh Nirani-are expected to be given cabinet berths as a reward for their loyalty and seniority. A major modification will be the dropping of all three deputy chief minister positions, a move that the chief minister has suggested and yet to be cleared by the high command. Sources in Karnataka BJP claim that the position was created at the insistence of a senior RSS leader who has moved to Delhi recently who wanted to curb the influence of Yediyurappa in the state. But with a massive win on his side, Yediyurappa might do away with all three DyCM posts.
Ramesh Jarkiholi who is believed to have led the rebellion in Congress, eventually leading to the collapse of the coalition government has allegedly been lobbying for the post of Dy CM, causing a flutter amidst the senior leaders of BJP. A meeting that was held by the newly elected MLAs before the results were announced, where discussions and decisions over the portfolios they should be awarded, has reportedly aggravated the high command.
Miffed over the delay and also being informed that the decision of the portfolios will be taken by the party, the 13 MLAs along with those who two disqualified MLAs who lost the bypolls, are in a huddle in Bengaluru. In the meeting, they will mull over their future course of action as well as the demands put forth by several of these leaders. Ramesh Jarkiholi continues to campaign for at least the water resources ministry while he might have to settle for the PWD portfolio. H Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj, both of whom lost the bypolls, continue to maintain that despite their loss, then should be made MLCs and ministers on the basis of their resignations which bolstered BJP’s bid to form government.