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Cabinet expansion juggernaut awaits K'taka CM Bommai

The BJP high command and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai have a tough job on their hands as the hints of giving prominence to new faces and dropping senior leaders from the cabinet are doing the rounds in the state.

Cabinet expansion juggernaut awaits Ktaka CM Bommai
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai (File Photo)


Sources say that Chief Minister Bommai's role in cabinet formation will be limited. The high command is believed to be trying to give chance to loyal BJP legislators who have won at least three elections. 

Meanwhile, senior backward community leader B. Sriramulu did not attend the swearing-in-ceremony of Chief Minister Bommai after getting signals that the high command is not so keen on him, sources said. 

Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar reiterated his statement on Thursday that he won't become minister in the cabinet as Bommai is junior to him. 

"I agreed to be a minister in former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa's government even after becoming chief minister because Yediyurappa is senior to me in terms of age and experience. Now, Chief Minister Bommai is junior in terms of experience and how can I become a minister in his cabinet," Shettar questioned. 

He maintained that he will continue as a legislator. "It is the question of self respect and honour," he underlined. 

Another aspirant for higher post K.S. Eshwarappa stated that it is the aspiration of religious seers and supporters that he should become a deputy chief minister. "I won't comment on whether I will be a deputy chief minister or not. I will also not state that I am not ready to become a minister," he said. 

Not much is known about what will happen to the 17 MLAs who joined the BJP after resigning from the Congress and the JD(S). Barring a few, most of them were allotted powerful portfolios in the Yediyurappa government. 

Sources maintain that many are set to lose plum postings that they enjoyed. The camp also got to know that few of them will be dropped from the cabinet. 

All legislators from this camp are parading with Chief Minister Bommai wherever he goes and are trying to show their unity. These legislators popularly referred as 'rebels', who empowered BJP to attain power in the state, are sending a signal to the party not to ignore them when the cabinet is formed. 

Former minister B.C. Patil commented that he has full confidence that all the MLAs who joined BJP after quitting Congress will get what they deserve. 

It is said that senior ministers S. Sureshkumar, R. Ashok, C.C. Patil, Shashikala Jolle, Kota Srinivas Poojari are not going to get the cabinet berth. 

However, Sureshkumar, a Sangh favourite and Ashok being from Yediyurappa camp are expected to make it to the cabinet, however, it is doubtful if they will get plum posts, sources said. 

On the other hand, the BJP is contemplating to give a chance to new faces and especially to those who won more than three elections. The party is seriously considering the candidatures of Sunil Kumar, Ravi Subramanya, Shivanagouda Naik, Arun Shahapura, Abhay Patil, Poornima Sreenivas, Halappa Achar and Satish Reddy. 

The chief minister aspirants Aravind Bellad and Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal are expected to make it to the cabinet this time. 

BJP after successful transfer of power, the party is finding it tough to appease all sections as a small disgruntled group of MLAs could threaten the stability of the government. 

The BJP has a strength of 119 MLAs, just 6 more than the majority mark out of 224.

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