BELAGAVI: While the countdown for creation of the Karnataka Cabinet has begun, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and BJP top brass must be having a tough time in choosing the team as most of the legislators' closeness to former CM B S Yediyurappa and with 17 MLAs from Ramesh Jarkiholi group are leaving no stone unturned to enter Bommai's cabinet.
With the chances of many of those in the Yediyurappa cabinet making a comeback looking bleak, a large number of 38 Lingayat legislators having links with the RSS ranks in the party are exerting pressure on high command in a last-ditch attempt to make it to the cabinet.
According to sources, Yediyurappa is keen to herd many of his close confidants mainly C C Patil, Umesh Katti, Madhuswamy, Suresh Kumar, Halappa Achar and Tippareddy into the new cabinet even as the party high command has indicated that a host of seniors from the last cabinet will be shown the door.
The supporters of legislators like Nehru Olekar from Haveri, Duryodhan Aihole from Raibag, Mahantesh Kavatgimath, Abhay Patil and Anil Benake, Mahesh Kumatalli, P Rajeev, Anand Mamni from Belagavi who were not in Yedyurappa cabinet are lobbying for the cabinet berths for their leaders.
If the BJP's plans to ignore the seniors is anything to go by, several seniors like Jagadish Shettar, K S Eshwarappa, Umesh Katti and Shrimant Patil may not be considered. Until former Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi gets a clean chit in the sex CD case, many supporters of Jarkiholi brothers demand the inclusion of his brother Balachandra Jarkiholi (Arabhavi MLA) into Bommai's cabinet.
Under fire from a section of Lingayat lobby for sidelining Yediyurappa, the BJP top brass may not gamble anymore by dumping the former CM completely. They areexpected to have most of his close confidants in the Cabinet, at least for now, rather than those close to the RSS ranks, according to sources.
Senior BJP MLA Umesh Katti said, he was confident to make it to the cabinet given his experience as a minister in multiple cabinets in the past and said he was ready for the job and expected a berth in the new cabinet. His close links with Yediyurappa will be an added advantage for him.
A hectic campaign by supporters of several young legislators on social media has also been gaining pace, making an appeal to the BJP to give chances to them. The supporters of Belagavi MLA Anil Benake want Bommai to include him in the cabinet under Maratha quota by replacing Shrimant Patil.
However, many leaders of BJP expect Bommai's cabinet to be young without most of the seniors who were in the Yediyurappa cabinet.