Cabinet rejig: Ravi’s office opening turns into an event for lobbying

Several Ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, camping in Delhi to attend the opening ceremony of the office of party national general secretary C.T. Ravi, made it a point to meet several central leaders and lobby hard for a stake in the upcoming Cabinet expansion/ reshuffle.

The office opening ceremony was attended by B.L. Santhosh, BJP national general secretary (organisation), and the event is said to have turned into an impromptu political consultation meet. A delegation of State BJP leaders, led by Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi and Revenue Minister R. Ashok, met Arun Singh, the new in charge of party affairs for Karnataka, and discussed several issues, including Cabinet expansion, sources said.

Mr. Singh is expected to make his maiden visit as general secretary in charge on December 5 and 6, when he will hold wide- ranging consultations on the issue, sources in the party said. Cabinet expansion/reshuffle exercise will likely happen only after Mr. Singh’s visit to the State and probably after the winter session of the legislature, scheduled from December 7 to 15, sources said.

Meanwhile, Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, said to be lobbying hard to secure ministerial berths for defectors, said discussions were “positive”. This came even as N. Nagaraju (MTB), one of the defectors, expressed his displeasure at the delay in Cabinet expansion.

Mr. Jarkiholi also said a Ministry for C.P. Yogeshwar, who “worked hard to bring this government”, was discussed. Mr. Yogeshwar was also present at the meet, sources said. “The party high command knows my work to bring this government and hope they will recognise me,” he said. There has been severe opposition to inducting him into the Ministry from old-timers in the BJP.

Amid speculation that some Ministers will be dropped to make way for new faces, Ministers such as Shashikala Jolle and Kota Srinivas Poojary, who are said to be among the probables to be dropped, have been lobbying hard to retain their berths, sources said. Mr. Poojary was also in Delhi on Friday.

Meanwhile, Mr. Savadi and Mr. Ashok met a slew of central leaders, including Rajnath Singh.


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