Yediyurappa, who took oath as Chief Minister on July 26 and proved his government's majority on the floor of the assembly on July 29, is yet to induct any minister into his cabinet.
With the much awaited expansion of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s cabinet in Karnataka to take place on August 20, the wait is now on for the BJP’s central leadership to clear the list of 13-14 probables as Ministers in the first phase, top party leaders said here on Sunday. Yediyurappa and the state leadership are expected to get clear instructions from the high command about those to be inducted into the Ministry on Monday. Having run the government with a one-man cabinet for 22 days, Yediyurappa on Saturday finally managed to get the nod from BJP national president Amit Shah to undertake the exercise on August 20.
Yediyurappa, who took oath as Chief Minister on July 26 and proved his government’s majority on the floor of the assembly on July 29, is yet to induct any minister into his cabinet. Meanwhile, the BJP legislature party meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning ahead of the cabinet expansion has been postponed. “On Tuesday, looking at a good time, cabinet expansion will be done by the afternoon. There will be no legislature party meeting that day. We will do it after four days. All our MLAs, MLCs, MPs, all our leaders and central Ministers have been requested to attend the swearing-in ceremony,” Yediyurappa told reporters on Sunday.
Senior party functionaries said though many names were doing the rounds in the media, a clear picture would emerge once the list submitted by the state leadership to the high command is cleared by Amit Shah, expected on Monday afternoon.
Yediyurappa too had said after his return here from Delhi late on Saturday that he was expecting clear instructions on Monday from the central leadership on those who are to be inducted into the Ministry. “By Monday afternoon we will get a clear instruction on who all to be inducted. I have held discussions with Amit Shah and other leaders,” he had said. Asked about the number of Ministers likely to be inducted on Tuesday, he said “13 to 14 people are likely to be inducted into the cabinet in the first phase. There may be plus or minus one or two…we have now recommended 13 to 14 of them.” Yediyurappa has had a tightrope to walk during the cabinet expansion as he has to craft a fine caste and regional balance in view of the large number of aspirants, sources said.
However, with no decision yet by the Supreme Court on the disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs, whose resignations from the Assembly paved the way for the BJP to gain power, the Chief Minister has no immediate compulsion to accommodate them.
The then speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) rebels under the anti-defection law till the end of the assembly term, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court. Only if they get any relief from the Apex Court can these disqualified MLA contest the bypolls. Sources said that if they get re-elected, BJP planned to make them Ministers as promised and hence Yediyurappa would not be filling all 34 ministerial positions in one go. They also said that one interesting aspect was that BJP MLAs have not openly expressed their ministerial aspirations or indulged in intense lobbying like in the past, as they fear it may go against them.
However, expressing confidence that he would be made a Minister, considering his seniority, eight-time MLA Umesh Katti Sunday said even if it did not materalise, he would “happily” work as a legislator for the people of his constituency that was affected by floods, while hoping for a larger representation for Belagavi district in the cabinet.
Meanwhile, several senior BJP legislators like V Somanna, Ashwathnarayan and C C Patil, among others, visited Yediyurappa’s residence on Sunday, ahead of the cabinet exercise. Amid pressure from within, the opposition Congress and JD(S) too had hit out at the BJP over the delay in cabinet expansion and had even raised questions about the government’s “existence”. The Congress had even said Yediyurappa’s one man cabinet administration “resembled President’s rule.”