Exercise may be taken up before the start of budget session

Bracing up to “politically” fight back the resignation episode by its MLAs belonging to the camp of the former Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa, the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to take up ministerial expansion to fill up the berths vacated by the rebel Ministers.

Four ministerial berths will fall vacant as soon as Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar accepts the resignation of Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje and Public Works Minister C.M. Udasi, who quit the ministry on Wednesday. The party had sacked cooperation Minister B.J. Puttaswamy ahead of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s Haveri rally in December and Infrastructure Minister Sunil Valyapure had quit after he attended the Haveri rally in violation of the party diktat.

Sources said that the party was considering filling up these vacant ministerial berths before the commencement of the budget session on February 4 mainly as part of efforts to ensure a semblance of political normality. “Though normally one would not have gone ahead with the ministerial expansion at the fag end of the Assembly’s tenure, we want to take it up mainly to send a political message to the rebels,” sources said.

Meanwhile, both the BJP as well as Yeddyurappa camp are busy evolving strategies to outsmart each other close on the heels of Speaker K.G. Bopaiah’s absence coming in the way of plans by 13 rebel MLAs to put the Jagadish Shettar government in a tight spot by quitting their Assembly seats.

While the Yeddyurappa camp is trying to increase the number of the MLAs willing to resign to 20 in a bid to reduce the Shettar government into a minority, the BJP is trying to counter such efforts in a bid to save its government at least till the presentation of the State Budget on February 8.

Precautionary steps

As a precautionary measure, the BJP is learnt to have established contact with the six Independent MLAs to enlist their support in the event of a confidence/no-confidence motion. Also, the party is said to be in touch with some of the Opposition MLAs who could abstain themselves from voting to save the government.

Meanwhile, the resignations to the Ministry by Ms. Karandlaje and Mr. Udasi are likely to be accepted anytime from now. The party is learnt to have suggested to the Chief Minister, who is on a two-day tour to north Karnataka districts, to act on the resignations as soon as he returns to Bangalore.

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