Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is expected to seek clearance this week from the BJP high command to expand his cabinet to accommodate legislators who have been promised ministerial berths, including a few who shifted allegiance to the saffron party and helped topple the JD(S)-Congress government.
The party high command had in September stalled his proposed cabinet expansion.
However, Yediyurappa has expressed confidence that the BJP will win the two seats for which bypolls were held earlier, the results of which will be announced Tuesday, and is likely to use the momentum of a poll victory to dispel creeping doubts over his leadership in the wake of corruption allegations against his family, and to seek clearances for a cabinet expansion
“Our candidates are going to win with a huge margin in both Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituencies on November 10. On that day or after that I will go to Delhi or talk to our national president and Amit Shah over the phone about expanding the cabinet,” Yediyurappa said last week.
“We will win the bypolls comfortably and this will boost our reputation and will result in the opposition losing ground,” he said, in an apparent counter to growing talk about the BJP contemplating a change of the chief minister in the state.
At present, there are seven vacancies in the Karnataka cabinet. Several BJP veterans like Umesh Katti, Murugesh Nirani and Arvind Limbavalli have been pushing for cabinet berths while Yediyurappa is keen on keeping his 2019 promise to rebels like Munirathna Naidu – who is expected to win the RR Nagar by poll – along with H Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj, by making them ministers.
Meanwhile, former CM and Congress leader Siddaramaiah has claimed that the BJP will affect a change in leadership in Karnataka after the Bihar polls results are announced. A BJP legislator, Basavaraj Patil Yatnal, too has also stated that Yediyurappa will not be CM for long.
The Congress in September had moved a no-confidence motion against Yediyurappa following allegations of corruption and nepotism around his family members. The motion was defeated by the BJP but there have been persistent rumours that the party is not keen on continuing with Yediyurappa as the CM in wake of the allegations.
BJP sources, however, said that there is not likely to be any immediate change in leadership on account of the party not finding a suitable replacement for the veteran Lingayat leader.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines