BENGALURU: If the BJP Central leadership gives him the green signal, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai could have a council of ministers before nightfall on Wednesday. It has been a week since Bommai took oath as chief minister. Of the seven days, he has spent five in New Delhi discussing cabinet expansion.
On Tuesday night, Bommai said he will return to Bengaluru on Wednesday morning and will schedule a swearing-in ceremony for his cabinet by evening if the central leadership approves the final list of ministers. Perhaps for the first time, Bommai acknowledged that there were differences of opinion on deputy chief ministers.
Party sources suggested that while Bommai has strongly advocated a ‘no DCM’ policy, the BJP high command is considering alternatives.“I have decided to schedule the swearing-in ceremony either tomorrow afternoon or evening. All aspects like regional representation, social justice and inclusion of newcomers have been discussed. Party president JP Nadda has taken all the information and sought some clarifications which I have provided.
A final word will be conveyed to me tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and I will send the list to Raj Bhavan. If the list is finalised early tomorrow then we will hold a swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. There is little else to discuss,” Bommai told reporters after a dinner meeting at Union Minister Pralhad Joshi’s residence.
“It is true that there is a difference of opinion on deputy chief ministers. A decision is also pending on how many people should be inducted. Both issues will be addressed by tomorrow. I have left it to the senior leadership to decide,” Bommai said.
Responding to a question on a position in his cabinet for former chief minister and veteran BS Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra, Bommai said Nadda and Yediyurappa will discuss it before approving the final list. This is the closest acknowledgement of Vijayendra’s attempt to be part of the cabinet.
“The cabinet formation has been delayed solely because of the push to include Vijayendra in the ministry,” said a senior BJP leader, suggesting that Yediyurappa is pushing for his son’s induction into the cabinet, but the party Central leadership is not keen on it.Party sources said that Bommai’s preferred list for the cabinet includes more than a dozen names suggested by Yediyurappa.
“It is not a question of removing seniors or inducting juniors. We have to prepare for 2023 elections, but we also have to ensure good, pro-people administration. For that, we need experience as well as new vigour,” Bommai said when asked about the constitution of his cabinet. He added that he expects the expansion to be done in two phases, depending on the number of ministers the Central leadership approves.