Karnataka

BSY yet to take up ministry expansion with Central leaders

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He faces the complex task of taking defeated defectors as well as BJP cadre into confidence

Though Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has cited the busy schedule of the BJP Central leadership for putting off the ministerial expansion exercise to the fourth week of December, it is learnt that he is yet to formally approach the leadership with a proposal on expansion.

“Mr. Yediyurappa is yet to come to us with a formal proposal regarding ministerial expansion,” said a highly-placed source in the BJP Central leadership.

“Yes, we are focussing on Jharkhand elections now. But every day, most top leaders return to New Delhi after campaigning in Jharkhand. The leadership would definitely find time to discuss the issue with Mr. Yediyurappa if he comes out with a formal proposal,” he maintained.

All eyes have been on the ministerial expansion ever since the BJP ensured stability of its government by winning 12 out the total 15 seats in the bypolls, the results of which were announced on December 9.

Balancing act

The time being taken for expanding the ministry even after the resounding victory in the bypolls is being seen as an indication of the complexity of the political situation faced by Mr. Yediyurappa in balancing various lobbies, taking the defeated defectors also into confidence.

“The two defeated defectors, A.H. Vishwanath and N. Nagaraju (MTB), and another defector R. Shankar, who did not contest the bypolls, appear to be firm that they too should be accommodated in the ministry along with the 11 who won. This has turned out to be a tough call for the Chief Minister as only 16 berths are vacant in the ministry and he needs to accommodate others from the party too in the course of the time to bring about a balance,” a prominent leader in the BJP said.

Meanwhile, several senior MLAs from the party cadre are also lobbying hard for ministerial berths. This is learnt to have complicated the matter as Mr. Yediyurappa minister would have to ensure a semblance of balance in the ministry between the outsiders and those from the party cadre.

In this context, Mr. Yediyurappa may be taking time to negotiate with the defeated defectors and ministerial aspirants from the party, another leader in the BJP State unit observed.

No new Dy. CMs

Meanwhile, the BJP Central leadership is learnt to have taken a firm decision against creating additional posts of Deputy Chief Ministers or removing any of the three existing posts.

Health Minister B. Sriramulu is said to be peeved over the prospects of him missing out on the Deputy Chief Ministerial opportunity. On Saturday, he made it clear that he would handle the responsibility effectively if he was made Deputy Chief Minister. Interacting with reporters, he also added that he would “not embarrass the party” with any demands, though.

This aspiration of Mr. Sriramulu appears to have rubbed some of the party leaders close to Mr. Yediyurappa, in the wrong way. Former Union Minister Basanagouda Patil Yatnal said he had desisted from seeking the position of Deputy Chief Minister, though he was “much senior to Mr. Sriramulu”.

Meanwhile, speculations are rife that Ramesh Jarkiholi, who won the bypolls on BJP ticket after defecting from the Congress, is also eyeing the Deputy Chief Minister post.

Mr. Yediyurappa has the unenviable task of taking both the defectors as well as leaders from the party’s own cadre into confidence ahead of ministerial expansion.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 8:52:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bsy-yet-to-take-up-ministry-expansion-with-central-leaders/article30307513.ece

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