BENGALURU: The cabinet will be formed in a week, said Basavaraj Bommai on Friday, during his maiden visit to New Delhi after taking charge as chief minister. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of senior BJP leaders.
While he told the media that the visit was purely to thank party leaders for choosing him as BS Yediyurappa’s successor and there was no talk of cabinet expansion, sources in the party suggested that Bommai is returning to Karnataka with the first list of cabinet probables.
Former ministers Umesh Katti and R Ashoka, who are now deputy chief minister aspirants, accompanied Bommai to Delhi.Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, who was also in the run for the top post, played a perfect host and accompanied Bommai to all his meetings with Union ministers and party leaders. From Modi to BJP national president JP Nadda, all leaders assured Bommai of full cooperation for his government.
“Met CM of Karnataka Shri @BSBommai Ji today. Conveyed best wishes as he begins a new journey for Karnataka’s progress. Assured full support for the development of Karnataka,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.
Bommai requested Modi to approve an AIIMS in Hubballi-Dharwad and an AIIMS-like institute for Raichur, which is identified as an aspirational district by NITI Aayog. He also appealed to the Prime Minister to upgrade ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Kalaburagi to Regional AIIMS-like Institute, a statement issued by the PMO said.
At a press conference later on Friday night, Bommai said he also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assistance in Covid management and vaccine supply.“I will form the cabinet in a week. I will return to New Delhi next week,” Bommai said when asked about cabinet expansion, even as there were indications that the party central leadership would finalise the names by then. Bommai’s cabinet is expected to be a full 34-minister council.
Sources from the Sangh Parivar said they are hoping for a ‘clean cabinet’ with most of its recommendations making the cut. Discussions are still underway on whether deputy chief ministers will be appointed this time around.
After meeting Home Minister Amit Shah, Bommai said, “He (Shah) asked me to give good governance in the State. I assured him that I would honour the faith he has reposed in me.” Shah is said to have told Bommai that these are testing times for the new chief minister as the State is facing Covid and floods.Bommai said that Nadda asked him to prepare for the next elections. He also met Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and discussed the Mekedatu irrigation project.