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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

No discussion on cabinet expansion with BJP top brass this time: Karnataka CM says before leaving for Delhi

There are currently 30 Ministers in the Karnataka Cabinet, including the Chief Minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: September 8, 2021 6:59:19 am
Basavaraj BommaiKarnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. (Express Photo)

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Tuesday, before leaving for New Delhi, said there will be no discussion with BJP’s high command on filling up the four vacant cabinet berths.

He added he will only meet the Union ministers to discuss the various central projects in the state and attend the wedding reception of Union Minister Pralhad Joshi’s daughter in the national capital.

“There is no appointment to meet BJP National President J P Nadda as of now. I will meet him at Union Minister Pralhad Joshi’s daughter’s wedding reception and there I will talk to him,” Bommai said.

This is the fourth visit to New Delhi by Bommai after taking charge as the Chief Minister on July 28. Last month, the new cabinet with 30 ministers, including the Chief Minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34.

Among the ranks and folds, there are still many aspirants for the four vacant berths and according to BJP sources, many legislators are putting pressure on the Chief Minister to expand the cabinet and fill up the berths.

Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior BJP functionary on condition of anonymity said, “in the present cabinet, majority of them are outsiders who have got ministerial positions while some of those who have been serving the party for decades were left out. This has become quite evident in the inner circles. In the present visit of the CM to New Delhi, he may discuss the issue of filling the vacant berths.”

In the present state cabinet, BJP has chosen more turncoats who quit the JDS and Congress in 2019 and helped the saffron party form the government than BJP old-timers.

Some of the senior BJP legislators, who are in contention for ministerial berths, are Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath, Bengaluru South MLA M Krishnappa, Bommanahalli MLA M Satish Reddy, Krishnaraja MLA S A Ramadas, Vijayapura MLA Basanagouda Patil Yanal and Hubli-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister informed that he will meet Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Tuesday and Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari and Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri Wednesday during the two-day trip to the national capital.

“There are various projects and proposals of the state to be discussed with Union ministers. I will discuss our PWD and National Highway proposals With Gadkari, while with the Finance Minister, I’ll discuss on the release of funds for centrally-sponsored schemes. With the Housing & Urban Affairs Minister, during his recent visit to Bengaluru to inaugurate Metro’s extension line, we had discussed various projects like urban housing and other Metro extensions. I will discuss with him in details on these once again,” Bommai said.

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