New Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said that the cabinet expansion will take place could happen early next week. He said that he has explained the necessity of an early cabinet expansion in the meeting with BJP president JP Nadda.
"We will get the nod within next week. I have not discussed the list of probable ministers in today's meeting. But told the need of early decision on this issue," the 61-year-old leader told reporters in Delhi.
He further said that he will be meeting Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund for last year and this year. "I am meeting Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today regarding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund for last year and this year also," said Karnataka Chief Minister.
Earlier on Friday he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought approval for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Hubballi-Dharwad. Bommai also sought approval for an AIIMS-like institute in Raichur, identified as an aspirational district by the NITI Aayog. He also appealed for upgrading the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Medical College and Hospital in Kalaburagi to the Regional AIIMS-like Institute.
Bommai also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat, Lok Sabha speaker Om Prakash Birla, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister for Coals, Prahlad Joshi, Central Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Empowerment Anurag Thakur and held discussions during his visit.
Bommai took oath as the 23rd chief minister of Karnataka on July 28, two days after the resignation of BS Yediyurappa.
Chance to new faces
Uneasy calm prevails in the BJP Karnataka state unit leaders camp as they have got the news that the party is keen on replacing the elderly leaders with new faces, sources said.
According to sources in the party, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the party top brass are said to have agreed upon giving chance to 6 new faces in the cabinet. This move may dent the prospects of 11 crossover legislators who were ministers under Yediyurappa.
The senior BJP leaders, who enjoyed plum postings, are said to be disturbed after the news of laying them off in the new cabinet reached.
The party has decided to induct 21 to 25 ministers into the cabinet in the first phase. After seeing reactions, decisions will be made in future, sources claimed. But, most of the legislators who joined BJP from the Congress are likely to make it to the cabinet.
Vote bank appeasement
A senior BJP functionary privy to discussions on cabinet formation was quoted in the media as saying that Bommai’s deputy CMs will be from five major social groups — SCs, STs, Vokkaligas, Lingayats and the OBCs.
The aim is to add all communities to the base vote bank of Lingayats and Brahmins. The rainbow Hindu approach is because the BJP has been struggling to cross the magic figure of 113 seats in the assembly polls since 2008.
Though, RSS leaders are said to be hesitant on forming a cabinet on caste lines. They are also of the opinion that the creation of posts of deputy chief ministers will create unnecessary rivalry among themselves.
Senior leaders refuse to join Cabinet
There were also talks of trouble as many seniors said that they would not like to join the new Cabinet under the “changed circumstances.”
Jagadish Shettar, who was the chief minister in 2012-13 and industries minister in BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet, made it clear that he was not in the race for a berth in the Bommai cabinet. “I have decided not to join the cabinet. I had no problem working under Yediyurappa since he is senior to me and I had served as a minister under him earlier. The situation is a little different now, and I have decided to work for the party instead,” Shettar said.
Other senior BJP leaders have also indicated that they may stay away, indicating that a little storm is brewing between seniors and a junior who is now the CM.
The new CM will also be on a tricky turf in dealing with political heavyweights in the BJP, many of whom were in the race for the CM’s post. Even if they join the cabinet, Bommai may find it difficult to assert himself and get his vision for the party implemented.
Meanwhile, former ministers Umesh Katti, C.C. Patil, C.P. Yogeshwar, former deputy chief minister Lakshman Savadi and MLA Aravind Bellad are camping in New Delhi and are meeting senior leaders.
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