BENGALURU: The ministerial aspirants in the BJP hardly slept on Monday night and kept looking at their phones hoping that they would buzz.
That one call from the CMO or the party high command was all that most legislators in the party were waiting for the entire night as names of leaders to be inducted into the ministry on Tuesday morning have been kept a closely guarded secret.
Finally, 25 days after he took over as the Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa will expand his one-man cabinet.
Time and venue for the oath-taking ceremony are fixed. But no one knows, not even the state party leaders, on who will get a berth.
The suspense is expected to continue till the names are called during the oath-taking ceremony between 10.30 and 11.30 am at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.
That is when anyone will know if he/she has made the cut.
As one senior leader, who is most likely to make it to the ministry put it, “We have all been asked to be at Raj Bhavan at 10 am for the oath-taking ceremony. Maybe we will get to know the names only when they are called to take oath.”
All MLAs and MPs have been told to be at the venue on the dot
.“We are clueless,’’ said another senior leader echoing the view of most leaders, including of those who are almost certain to be in.
Sources in the party said that Yediyurappa, in consultation with party national president Amit Shah, has finalised the names and ministers-to-be maybe sounded only after 1 am on Tuesday.
“In the new set-up, it all works on a need-to-know basis. Only those who need to be informed may get to know post-midnight,” said a party leader.
Yediyurappa likely to induct 12 to 16 ministers
Given what happened with the Speaker’s election in Karnataka and many “surprising” developments within the BJP and the government, this time around party leaders in the state seem to be prepared for any “surprises,” that may even come as a shock to some aspirants, especially seniors waiting to be part of the government.
“The Yediyurappa ministry will have Amit Shah’s imprint with a mix of young and experienced leaders with clean image,” is all that a senior leader said and claimed that he too is clueless about the final list.
The challenge for the BJP leadership is manifold. They have to placate a large number of aspirants within the party and also keep some slots open for the rebel JDS-Congress MLAs, who helped the party form its government after the fall of the coalition.
The BJP government is in place 14 months after the 2018 assembly polls when it had emerged as the single-largest party with 105 members in the 224-member Assembly.
“If BJP had full majority, things would have been different. We need to accommodate 17 rebels and we too have many senior MLAs who won three to four times. There is pressure on the leadership to make them ministers,” said a senior leader explaining the complexity of the situation and reason for the party leadership making its move very cautiously.
“At this juncture, it is important to take a decision wisely. That is why everything has been done cleverly and secretly," he said.
Sources said in the first round, Yediyurappa is likely to induct 12 to 16 ministers, while keeping some slots open for the rebels. In the last few days, many rebel MLAs have met the CM and any decision on their induction can be taken only after the Supreme Court order on a petition challenging their disqualification from the assembly membership.
Who will be mantri?
On Monday, names of several BJP leaders did the rounds, though there was no confirmation on this.
R Ashoka, Govind Karjol, K S Eshwarappa, Jagadish Shettar, B Sriramulu, J Madhuswamy, Ashwathnarayan, S Suresh Kumar, Balachandra Jarkiholi, Basavaraj Bommai, Shas-hikala Jolle, KG Bopaiah, Kota Srinivasa Poojary, Somanna, Umesh Katti, SA Ramadas.