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Further Karnataka cabinet expansion not now: BJP
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not in a hurry to again expand the Karnataka cabinet now as it is in the midst of providing relief to the flood-hit people in two-thirds of the state besides stepping up governance, a party official said on Saturday.
"There are no plans to expand the cabinet again in the immediate future though there are 16 vacancies in the 34-member ministry, as the government is busy with flood relief works and in implementing the budgetary schemes," party's state unit spokesman G. Madhusudana told IANS here.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had expanded his cabinet on August 20, inducting 17 ministers, including three Deputy Chief Ministers, and had allocated portfolios on August 26, a month after he assumed office on July 26 for the fourth time in 12 years.
"The government has been set in motion and the state administration is busy providing relief to the flood victims and improving the situation. Further cabinet expansion will be taken up later as the party and the Chief Minister are in a hurry now," asserted Madhusudana.
Terming reports in a section of the media that two more Deputy Chief Ministers will be inducted soon as speculative, the spokesman said the party's state unit had no direction from its high command on such a move, as its national leaders have also been busy with other developments.
"With the festival season on the anvil and the state government focusing on development programmes, there is no pressure on the Chief Minister to expand the cabinet or induct two more Deputy Chief Ministers now," reiterated Madhusudana.
"The party's high command has given free hand to the Chief Minister to decide on the next cabinet expansion and whom to induct and when. There is no pressure on him from within the party or from outside on designations or portfolios to be allocated," he added.
Last week, three party legislators were allocated new portfolios -- Balachandra Jarkiholi was made the Chairman of the state-run Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), while S.R. Vishwanath and Renukacharya were appointed as political secretaries to the Chief Minister with cabinet status.
Asked if the party was waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on the disqualification of the 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) legislators for the second cabinet expansion amid speculation that some of them could be inducted into the ministry for having paved way for the party's return to power in the state, the spokesman said there was no 'quid pro quo' between the party and them for such a favour.
"You should ask them why they resigned from their Assembly segments, what were the reasons behind revolting against their parties and if there was or is any deal with our party for their decisions. It will be a different matter if they get relief from the apex court, join our party and contest the bye-elections, if held, on our party symbol and win," the official said.