Cabinet expansion put off for now

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa was keen on making a trip to Delhi to consult the party high command on Cabinet expansion and reshuffle, and if things had gone well, he wanted it to be done before Independence Day. But with the Chief Minister and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the key decision-maker on party affairs, being hospitalised for COVID-19, the exercise has effectively been put off indefinitely, sources in the party said.

Mr. Yediyurappa appointing 20 MLAs to boards and corporations was seen as a precursor to the Cabinet reshuffle and expansion. “The message was clear that these MLAs were out of the race for ministerial berths in the upcoming reshuffle. Of the 24 MLAs initially nominated, four were withdrawn as these MLAs refused to accept their nominations for the same reason,” a senior leader said.

A proposal to drop a few Ministers and induct more had triggered intense lobbying among the MLAs to make the cut, while several Ministers, who were said to be on the list of those likely to be dropped, had also been lobbying hard to retain their berths in the Cabinet. Three Ministers from Belagavi — Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, Ramesh Jarkiholi, and Shashikala Jolle — recently made trips to Delhi, meeting Centralparty leaders.

While the Chief Minister has been keen on a reshuffle and expansion at the earliest, the position of the high command was not clear. His trip to Delhi, if it had come through, would have given a clearer picture. But with both key decision-makers hospitalised, the exercise has been put off for now.

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