After Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa failed to reach a consensus with Amit Shah over cabinet expansion in the state, former minister AH Vishwanath reiterated the demand for cabinet berth for all the rebels who quit the Congress and JDS and joined the BJP subsequently.
It has been nearly six months since Yediyurappa came to power and the cabinet has not been fully expanded. As on date, there are 18 ministers in the Karnataka cabinet, including Yediyurappa. And about 16 ministerial berths are vacant.
According to BJP high command, the order is not to give ministerial berth to all, but only to half the people who won the by-polls. This is likely to create an unfavourable situation for the chief minister and his party.
Pointing out that all the 17 rebels are still united, Vishwanath, who lost the by-polls, appealed Yediyurappa to honour the promise made to them before they joined the BJP.
“Let us see how long they will delay the cabinet expansion. We are united and we are only demanding what was promised. If not for those 17 MLAs, the BJP would have come to power in the state,” Vishwanath said, adding that he is likely to organise a meet with the rebels and mount pressure on Yediyurappa.
MTB Nagaraj who quit the Congress and joined BJP but lost the by-polls, told The Federal, “Yediyurappa has not communicated about dropping anyone. Hence, they would wait and watch and not take any adverse decisions.”
The former chief minister and the Congress leader Siddaramaiah claimed that the cabinet expansion will end the BJP government in the state as he foresees a divide with the saffron party.
Siddaramaiah, who shared dias with Vishwanath and BJP leader Eshwarappa on Sunday, told reporters that it would not augur well for the BJP if they fail to give tickets to rebels.
“Already the situation is worse as the 13 MLAs who won by-polls are not happy with the high command’s attitude. They are not even allowed to meet the Home Minister, who is the decision-making authority,” he said.
The cabinet expansion is likely to take place only in the first week of February, if and when they state and central leaders reach a consensus. The chief minister took almost 25 days to finalise the existing cabinet with 18 ministers.