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Saturday, December 05, 2020

BSY asked to wait, Cabinet expansion stuck in party-govt gap

According to sources, the BJP central leadership has directed Yediyurappa to hold consultations with the new BJP in-charge for the state Arun Singh to finalise the proposed Cabinet expansion.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru | Updated: November 21, 2020 7:12:08 am
BS Yediyurappa, Karnataka cm, karnataka cabinet expansion, Karnataka bjp vs Karnataka govt, karnataka news, indian expressBS Yediyurappa. (File)

AN EXPANSION of the Karnataka Cabinet proposed by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa hangs in the balance with the party leadership yet to approve it despite him dashing to Delhi on November 18 to meet BJP national president J P Nadda to obtain clearances.

According to sources, the BJP central leadership has directed Yediyurappa to hold consultations with the new BJP in-charge for the state Arun Singh to finalise the proposed Cabinet expansion. Yediyurappa has, however, suggested a decision will be taken in a few days time.

Since Yediyurappa’s return from Delhi without obtaining the clearance some of the ministerial aspirants, who were earlier at his doorstep, have begun approaching BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel for his intervention in accommodating them in the Cabinet.

Soon after the BJP won two bypoll seats in Karnataka on November 10, giving him a political boost amid speculation that the central leadership was looking for a change of guard, the chief minister had announced his decision to seek a Cabinet expansion. “I will go to Delhi or talk to our national president and Amit Shah over the phone about expanding the Cabinet,” Yediyurappa had said. Eight days later, he travelled to Delhi and met Nadda.


BSY’s promise to rebels

One of the things Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is keen to complete while he is in power is accommodation in the Cabinet of rebels from the Congress and JDS who helped the BJP come to power in 2019. While several BJP veterans like Umesh Katti, Murugesh Nirani and Arvind Limbavalli have been pushing for the seven cabinet vacancies, Yediyurappa is keen on keeping his 2019 promise to rebels—such as Munirathna Naidu, who recently won the RR Nagar bypoll, veteran H Vishwanath, the wealthy MTB Nagaraj and MLC R Shankar—of making them ministers.

“We held discussions on Cabinet expansion and development matters,” he said after the meeting.

On his return, party leaders suggested that Yediyurappa had been asked to wait for a while and involve the party in the decision-making process for the Cabinet expansion.

This is a marked change from how Yediyurappa has been unilaterally managing the affairs of the government ever since he was replaced as the state party chief in 2019 by Kateel, who was handpicked by the central leadership, although Yediyurappa was keen on keeping a grip on both the government and party.

The delay in the BJP over the Cabinet expansion has led to the opposition Congress targeting the ruling party. “BJP was targeting the Opposition with jibes like high-command culture, family politics, etc. It is now doing the same and also ignoring administration,” said former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday. “Administration in Karnataka is suffering due to confusion within the Karnataka BJP.”

Earlier this month, he had claimed that the BJP will affect a change in leadership in Karnataka after the Bihar polls. BJP MLA Basavaraj Yatnal had also said Yediyurappa will not continue to be the chief minister for long.

A no-confidence motion was moved against Yediyurappa by the Congress in September following allegations of corruption and nepotism around his family members.

The motion was defeated but there have been persistent rumours of the BJP not being keen on continuing with him as the chief minister following the allegations.

BJP sources, however, said an immediate change in leadership is unlikely on account of the party not finding a suitable replacement for the veteran Lingayat leader.

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