BENGALURU: As the countdown for cabinet expansion has begun, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, after meeting BJP national president JP Nadda, said in New Delhi on Monday that the party central leaders would finalise the list which will most likely be announced on Tuesday evening.“We had detailed discussions on the cabinet expansion. I have explained the ground situation. They (party leaders) also have certain issues, which they explained. Keeping it in mind, they will release the final list,’’ Bommai told the media after his meeting with Nadda.
Bommai presented “two-three lists” with different combinations of ministerial probables to the party high command and explained to them the “ground situation” in the State. “I gave lists with different combinations. They told us that they will have a detailed discussion on it tomorrow (Tuesday) and finalise the names,” Bommai added.
Earlier in the day, he said they were working on a certain formula for cabinet expansion taking into account various factors, including ensuring representation to all regions and taking everyone into confidence. Not all MLAs can become ministers and the MLAs know it, he added, stressing on the need to form a cabinet by balancing equitable social and regional representation, besides considering those who served in the previous cabinet under BS Yediyurappa.
After meeting Nadda, Bommai refused to say how many ministers would be inducted or whether there would be deputy chief ministers, and if so, how many. “We will know all that once the list is finalised,” he said.Asked about the fate of turncoats, who joined BJP from other parties and helped it form the government two years ago, Bommai said the party does not treat them as outsiders. “They have won elections based on BJP ticket and they are our people and part of BJP. We all will work together for the party,” he added.
Several ministerial aspirants camp in Delhi
Party sources said that if the list is finalised by Tuesday evening, the new ministers are likely to take oath on Wednesday or Thursday. But Bommai clarified that the oath-taking ceremony will be decided only after the list is finalised.The CM, who rushed to New Delhi for the second time after taking over as chief minister on July 28, was busy holding consultations with party central leaders on picking his team of ministers. He met Nadda after meeting BJP National General Secretary BL Santhosh and Union Minister for Education and Skill Development Dharmendra Pradhan. He was accompanied by BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel and union minister Pralhad joshi.
While there was a buzz in the party that Yediyurappa had demanded the inclusion of his son BY Vijayendra into the cabinet, Bommai refused to respond to the question, saying the party high command will take all the decisions.Meanwhile, there was hectic activity at Yediyurappa’s residence in Bengluru where many legislators, including Yelahanka MLA SR Vishwanath, Preetham Gowda, MP Kumaraswamy, Araga Jnanendra, MTB Nagaraj, Doddanagowda Patil and others met the former CM, lobbying for ministerial berths. Some religious heads too visited Yediyurappa’s residence, demanding cabinet berths for BJP MLC N Ravikumar. Besides, there were followers of MLA Nehru Olekar who raised slogans in front of Yediyurappa’s house, demanding his inclusion in the cabinet.
Other BJP leaders who are also in New Delhi included B Sriramulu, CC Patil, Laxman Savadi, Aravind Bellad, CP Yogeeshwara and others. BJP sources said Yediyurappa is strongly opposed to the inclusion of both Bellad and Yogeeshwara in the new cabinet. Bommai took oath as CM on July 28 after Yediyurappa resigned on July 26. In Yediyurappa’s team, more ministers were from Bengaluru and Belagavi, while 14 districts went without representation. There were eight ministers from Bengaluru and five from Belagavi..