Political activities in Karnataka BJP camp after CM indicates cabinet reshuffle

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Bengaluru, Nov 11 (PTI) A day after Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa indicated cabinet reshuffle is on cards, political activities intensified within the ruling BJP camp in the state on Wednesday.

Some ministerial aspirant MLAs met at Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi's residence here, where they reportedly discussed about the cabinet expansion or reshuffle and the chances of them making it to the list this time.

The meeting was attended by Chief Minister's political secretary and MLA MP Renukukacharya, legislators- Murugesh Nirani, Belli Prakash, Raju Gowda, Shankar Patil, Poornima Srinivas, among others, party sources said.

However, Jarkiholi told reporters that the legislators had come for lunch and there was nothing significant about it.

Cabinet expansion or reshuffle was the Chief Minister's prerogative and they would abide by whatever he and the high command decides, Jarkiholi said, as he clarified that he was not aspiring for a Deputy Chief Minister post.

With BJP's victory in bypolls to two assembly segments, Yediyurappa on Tuesday indicated that it will not be just the expansion of his cabinet, but he may even effect a reshuffle.

The Chief Minister has said he will soon be travelling to New Delhi to discuss with the party's central leadership on this and get their approval, as he hinted about reshuffle by dropping or inducting some Ministers.

Noting that their gathering was no pressure tactics, Renukacharya said they all came to Jarkiholi's residence for lunch after felicitating the Chief Minister for victory in the bypolls, a view echoed by MLA Raju Gowda.

Poornima Srinivas said making someone a minister was the authority of the Chief Minister and the party, whatever they decide will abide by it.

'I'm not indulging in any lobbying for being made a minister, the party knows whom to choose, it will do,' she said.

Srinivas said she came to Jarkiholi's residence to discuss some irrigation project in her constituency and coincidentally met other legislators who were there.

The cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope walk for Yediyurappa, considering that there are too many aspirants.

Several of the old guard like eight-time MLA Umesh Katti are waiting for a chance to be inducted into the Ministry.

Congress-JD(S) rebels like A H Vishwanath, R Shankar and M T B Nagaraj, who helped the BJP to come to power last year and now party MLCs, are also aspiring for ministerial berths.

Yediyurappa will also have to keep space for N Munirathna following his win from Rajarajeshwari Nagar seat in the bypoll and also for Pratap Gowda Patil who needs to win the Maski bypoll that is yet to be announced.

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

Meanwhile, separately MLC Vishwanath, who is a ministerial aspirant, said his seniority and sacrifice will be valued and he has confidence about being rewarded.

'The general elections are not too far, we will have to prepare for it...BJP state unit should be ready to face the election with new ideas, new cabinet and new programmes,' he said.

On the other hand, MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who has been an open critic of Yediyurappa for some time now, said he was not an aspirant.

However, Housing Minister V Somanna, considered close to Yediyurpapa, who shared the stage with Yatnal at an event in Vijayapura said, the latter's experience will be utilised and small differences would be resolved. PTI KSU VS VS