The long-awaited cabinet expansion in Karnataka could take place soon, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Sunday, after meeting with top BJP leaders, including its chief JP Nadda and Union Interior Minister Amit Shah. Yediyurappa, however, evaded questions about whether he would be able to complete his term as there has been speculation about a possible leadership change in the state following murmurs of discontent in the party.
“On the expansion of the cabinet, there was a detailed discussion. You will receive good news soon,” the prime minister told reporters after an hour-long meeting held at Shah’s residence in Delhi, during which the head of the government was also present. state party, Arun Singh.
Sources said the cabinet restructuring is more likely to take place before January 20.
The prime minister said this was the “last meeting” to discuss the expansion of the cabinet and that the final names will be clarified as soon as possible.
The state can have a total of 34 ministers and now has 27.
There was a “positive, fruitful and satisfactory discussion. I am happy with the discussion … we will await your instructions,” he said, adding that the central leadership has assured its support.
The expansion of the cabinet in the state has been at stake for more than a year and the delay has caused some unease in the state unit.
The prime minister said he suggested some names and expressed confidence that the BJP central leadership will respond positively.
“101 percent this is the last meeting. They are going to clear the names as soon as possible,” he said responding to a query.
When asked if he was confident of completing his term as prime minister, Yediyurappa replied: “It is a question that only you can answer.”
Amid reports of simmering discontent among a section of lawmakers over the workings of the government and certain ministers, the prime minister recently held regional meetings with the party’s MLAs for two days.
The BJP’s 118 MLAs have expressed their faith in Chief Minister Yediyurappa’s leadership, state ministers said Tuesday, while affirming that the government was stable.
However, it was unclear if the issue of leadership was discussed during Yediyurappa’s meetings with senior BJP leaders on Sunday.
In addition to the cabinet restructuring, the prime minister said there were also discussions about the upcoming parliamentary elections in the state for one parliamentary seat and two in the Assembly.
“They asked me to send the names of the candidates as soon as possible for authorization,” he said, adding that the management also told him to ensure the party’s victory in all three seats.
Top party leaders also expressed their happiness at the recent results of the gram panchayat, Yediyurappa added.
The CM said that he would return to Bengaluru tonight.
Yediyurappa’s son and BJP state vice president BY Vijayendra also noted that discussions on cabinet expansion were complete.
“The prime minister has clearly said that there will not be one hundred percent more talks on cabinet restructuring. All issues have been discussed in detail,” he said.
Vijayendra accompanied the prime minister to Delhi, but was not present during meetings with the BJP leaders.
The cabinet rule is expected to be a tightrope walk for the prime minister, considering there are too many contenders, from the party’s old guard to Congress to the rebellious JD (S) who are now BJP lawmakers.
Among those in the ministerial career are MLAs Umesh Katti, Munirathna, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, MP Renukacharya, Aravind Limbavali and SR Vishwanath.
Three MLCs, CP Yogeshwar, MTB Nagaraj and R Shankar, aspire too much for a ministerial position.
Another MLC, AH Vishwanath, was also in the running, but his hopes were dashed when the Karnataka High Court on November 30 barred him from becoming a minister until at least May this year.
By-elections are planned for the Maski and Basavakalyan assembly seats and the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency.
While Maski was left vacant due to the resignation of the MLA Pratap Gouda Patil Congress in 2019, by-elections to the Basavakalyan and Belagavi seats were necessary following the death of their representatives B Narayan Rao and Suresh Angadi, respectively, due to the coronavirus.