BENGALURU: With BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh coordinating the process of cabinet expansion in Karnataka, 15 MLAs, including 11 newly elected legislators, are likely to be inducted as ministers. The process of expansion is likely to see at least three incumbent ministers and one Deputy Chief Minister being dropped from the cabinet.
Although Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s visit to New Delhi was postponed at least thrice, delaying the process of cabinet expansion, sources in the party suggest that Santhosh has been working up permutations and combinations for the cabinet. The same was shared with Yediyurappa, to be discussed during BJP National President Amit Shah’s visit to Karnataka this week.
“Non-performing ministers are likely to be dropped, to make space for not just 11 newly-elected MLAs but 15 legislators in all. One of the three deputy chief ministers could also be dropped,” said a source from the party. It is Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi’s berth which appears to be in the line of fire, with the party’s compulsion to accommodate two disqualified MLAs — H Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj — as members of the Upper House. Following the duo’s defeat in the December bypolls, making them members of the Legislative Council is the only way to ensure a backdoor entry into the cabinet. Savadi is neither MLA nor MLC at present, but holds the post of Deputy Chief Minister.
With Govind Karjol being the SC face and the party unwilling to disappoint the Vokkaliga community by dropping Dr Ashwath Narayan, Savadi is coming across as the natural choice to be dropped, easing up space in the cabinet as well as the Council.
Ministers Shashikala Jolle, Srinivas Poojari and CC Patil, sources said, could also be bundled out to make way for new faces. Yediyurappa’s cabinet now has 18 members, whereas the cap on cabinet berths is 34, leaving ample space for other MLAs, apart from the 11 new legislators.