New Delhi, Feb 2, 2020: The expansion of Karnataka Cabinet led by BS Yeddyurappa is all set to take place on February 6 along with the oath-taking ceremony at the Raj Bhavan at 10:30 am. According to PTI, a total of 13 MLAs, including 10 who had joined BJP from parties, including Congress and the JD(S), will be administered the oath of the office on the coming Thursday.
"The cabinet expansion will take place on February 6 with the oath-taking ceremony at the Raj Bhavan at 10.30 AM," Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa told PTI today.
Notably, all eyes will be on if any Cabinet reshuffle takes place following the expansion.
The cabinet expansion is on the cards for nearly two months ever since the BJP won the maximum number of seats in the Dec 2019 bypolls and got a majority in the Karnataka assembly. The much-delayed cabinet expansion has already been postponed several times. Opposition parties have been targeting the BJP and Yediyurappa over the delay in the cabinet expansion, alleging he was weak and that his administration had collapsed.
Last year, the then Assembly speaker had disqualified 17 Congress and JD(S) legislators after they revolted against the coalition government leading to its fall on July 13. Of them, 13 had contested the bypolls held for 15 assembly seats and barring AH Vishwanath (Hunsur) and MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote), all others emerged triumphant as BJP candidates.
Eleven disqualified Congress-JDS MLAs had won the December bypolls on the ruling party ticket.
Though Yediyurappa has made it clear that 11 who got re-elected in the bypolls on BJP ticket will be made ministers, according to sources, the central leadership is not keen on inducting all of them and wants to give an opportunity to party loyalists also.
Vishwanath and Nagaraj have been openly demanding Cabinet berth for them stating that Yediyurappa had given a word to them.
Currently, there are 18 ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. Sixteen berths are still vacant. With the high-command reportedly not keen on making all the 11 re-elected legislators ministers, whom Yediyurappa has given assurance, it will not be an easy task for the chief minister, who has to ensure adequate representation to various castes and regions in his cabinet.
In addition to pressing the BJP leadership hard for ministerial berth, some MLAs are reportedly after plum portfolios. PTI quoting BJP sources reports that Gokak BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi wants Water Resource portfolio, adding that the Chief Minister, however, is non-committal.
Jarkiholi, who had played a key role in bringing down the Congress-JDS coalition government paving the way for the BJP to come to power in July last year, has demanded Cabinet berth for two other defectors, who lost in the bypolls held in December. The former Congress leader, however, added the final call will be taken by the party’s central leadership.
Yediyurappa, who already has three deputies, had recently ruled out the creation of any more Deputy Chief Minister’s post.
Jarkiholi along with Health Minister Sriramulu had in the past made no secret of their ambition to become Deputy Chief Ministers.