Yediyurappa indicates cabinet reshuffle is on cards

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Bengaluru, Nov 10 (PTI) With BJP's victory in bypolls to two Assembly constituencies, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday indicated that it will not be just the expansion of his cabinet, but he may even effect a reshuffle.

'In couple of days I will contact the Prime Minister, Amit Shah (Home Minister), J P Nadda (BJP National President) over phone, I will also try to meet them regarding the cabinet expansion and on coming back (from Delhi) in one or two days I want to expand the cabinet,' Yediyurappa told reporters here.

Responding to a question about reshuffle, he said, 'I'm going to Delhi...regarding reshuffle, dropping or inducting someone, I'm thinking about it in a big way. On getting approval from the central leaders I will go ahead with it.' With cabinet expansion on cards, lobbying has intensified within the ruling BJP and some aspirants have even reached New Delhi to meet BJP central leaders in this regard, party sources said.

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

While several of the old guard like 8-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 and are now party MLCs, are also aspiring for slots.

As per the agreement, Yediyurappa will also have to keep space for Munirathna, following his win from Rajarajeshwari Nagar seat in the bypoll, 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.

BJP winning both Sira and RR Nagar assembly segments, has given a boost to Yediyurappa's stock amid talks about his replacement in some quarters considering his age (77 years).

Yediyurappa today tried to scuttle such speculations by stating that his was a pro-people and pro-farmer government which walks the talk, and with the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi he will work towards completion of all the developmental works, in the remaining two and half years tenure.

The Chief Minister said the BJP will have to win Maski and Basavakalyan assembly segments also Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, for which bypolls are yet to be announced, and we will start preparations for this from now itself and also start the process for the selection of candidates.

Responding to a question regarding his son and BJP state vice-president B Y Vijayendra contesting bypolls to Basavakalyana assembly segment, he said, 'Vijayendra has also clarified, I'm also saying that in the current situation he will not contest the bypolls...In the next general election if the central leaders feel fit, let's see then.' Basavakalyana fell vacant recently following the death of Congress MLA Narayan Rao, due to COVID-19.PTI KSU SS PTI PTI