Will Karnataka Cabinet expansion be pushed to new year?

The much-delayed reshuffle or expansion of the State Cabinet is likely to be pushed to the new year, according to multiple sources in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The upcoming legislature session from Monday and the gram panchayat elections, to be held in two phases on December 22 and 27, are now being cited as reasons for further delay of the exercise.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has been trying to reshuffle/expand his Cabinet since August. He has made two trips to Delhi — on September 17 and November 18 — and met party president J.P. Nadda both times. The Chief Minister recently said multiple times that he was expecting the green signal from the high command in a matter of days, but it never came. He also said he had raised the issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah as well.

However, Arun Singh, the new in-charge of BJP affairs in the State, carried no message from the party high command about Cabinet expansion during his three-day visit to the State, sources said. Speaking to presspersons in the city on Sunday, Mr. Singh said Cabinet expansion was the prerogative of the Chief Minister and he would take a call at the appropriate time.

“There is a growing feeling that the decision on the Cabinet has become intrinsically linked to the question of leadership change. Unless the high command takes a decision on that, one way or another, Cabinet expansion is also not likely to be cleared,” a senior leader said.

Singh’s message

Mr. Singh, during his meeting with the Chief Minister, is said to have expressed concern over the “unilateral decisions” being taken by him. He has instructed Mr. Yediyurappa to adopt a more consultative approach, both with his Cabinet colleagues and the party, sources said. “The Chief Minister has been asked to discuss key decisions with political bearing in the core committee and the party unit. The party’s unhappiness over not being consulted over recent appointments to boards and corporations was also conveyed,” a senior leader said.

Recent decisions over the formation of caste-based development corporations, nominations to several boards and corporations, and a move to recommend the inclusion of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community to the central OBC reservation list came as surprises to both the party and the Cabinet, sources said.


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