Karnataka MLC Shankar hopeful of being made minister, claims expansion likely in 2-3 days

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Bengaluru, Jan 5 (PTI) Some Ministerial aspirants in ruling BJP in Karnataka have thrown their hat into the ring, making no secret of their wish amid renewed speculations that the much awaited expansion of the B S Yediyurappa cabinet is likely this month.

BJP MLC R Shankar on Tuesday met Chief Minister Yediyurappa and later claimed the expansion would happen in 2-3 days and that he will be made a Minister.

Hosadurga MLA Goolihatti D Shekhar said he too was an aspirant for ministerial berth.

'Even now the CM was saying that as soon as possible, within two to three days it (expansion) will happen....also as we were having breakfast with the Chief Minister, Umesh Katti (eight-time MLA and Ministerial aspirant) told me that I will become Minister in two-three days,' Shankar told reporters.

There are all indications that the expansion would happen soon, he added.

However, reacting to Shankar's claims, Chief Minister's political secretary and MLA M.P Renukacharya said, no discussion has happened regarding cabinet expansion or reshuffle yet, and the party national general secretary (Arun Singh) has instructed them to wait for the right time.

Shankar, who got elected as independent from Ranebennur during 2018 assembly polls, had associated himself with the Congress and was part of its coalition government with JD(S).

Subsequently he defected to BJP, after disqualification as an MLA for his role along with other Congress-JD(S) legislators that led to the collapse of the coalition government.

While giving a BJP ticket to Arun Kumar Guthur during December 2019 by-polls, Yediyurappa was said to have promised a Ministerial position by making Shankar an MLC.

Goolihatti Shekhar, meanwhile, expressed discontentment regarding the functioning of the party's government in the state and certain Ministers.

'I will abide by CM and high command's decision....I have been an aspirant since 2008 (first BJP govt), even now I'm an aspirant, but will leave it to leadership...,' he said in response to a question from reporters.

Asked about the feeling within the party that newcomers were getting priority than those loyal to the party, he merely said, 'ask for my response after expansion, this is not the time.' After attending party meetings in Shivamogga on Sunday, BJP national General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh had said the expansion of the state cabinet was likely soon and it was Chief Minister's prerogative.

Yediyurappa has been waiting for some time now to carry out the cabinet exercise, as he was asked by BJP president J P Nadda during their meeting in New Delhi on November 18, to wait for the clearance from the central leadership.

The cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope walk for the Chief Minister, considering that there are too many aspirants, from the party old guard to Congress- JD(S) rebels who are now BJP legislators.

The cabinet currently has 27 members, and seven berths are still vacant. PTI KSU VS VS