BSY may buy more time to rework his cabinet math

Total recast likely as simple expansion will upset caste, regional representation. The chief minister has vowed to induct into the ministry every one of the disqualified lawmakers who has won. Out of the 15 Assembly seats for which polls were held...

BCCL
The chief minister can take his Cabinet strength up to 34, and he will have the leeway to induct at least two new faces from among the aspirants.
BENGALURU: Even though Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa had valiantly announced he will take the disqualified lawmakers into his Cabinet within 24 hours of their election, he has not been able to do so, and is expected to buy some more time. The inauspicious month of Dhanurmasa which began on Tuesday has come to his rescue this time; it will end on January 14, 2020, the Makara Sankranti day.

The chief minister has vowed to induct into the ministry every one of the disqualified lawmakers who has won. Out of the 15 Assembly seats for which polls were held, 11 candidates have won from among the disqualified MLAs' group. All of them will have to be inducted, along with independent member R Shankar, who gave up his Ranebennur seat in Haveri district, in deference to the CM’s request. The party is expected to nominate Shankar to the Upper Houseand make him a minister.

In the 12 seats that the BJP has won in the December 5 bypolls, two each are Lingayat and Kuruba candidates, four are Vokkaligas, one each is a Valmiki (ST), backward class, Jain and Brahmin. In the 18-member Yediyurappa Cabinet, there are eight Lingayats, including the CM, three Vokkaligas, two each Dalit and backward community members, and one each from the Valmiki, Kuruba and Brahmin communities.


The composition will dramatically change when the newly elected members are added to the ministry, excluding, however, Ranebennur MLA Arunkumar Pujar, a Lingayat. The Cabinet, if expanded by including the 11 new MLAs and retaining all old faces, will have nine Lingayats, seven Vokkaligas, three Kurubas, two each of Dalits, Valmikis and Brahmins, and three backward community members. It will have one Jain.

Sections of BJP leaders are worried that Lingayats and Vokkaligas will dominate the new Cabinet if the chief minister were to plainly expand it. It is in this backdrop that rumours that Yediyurappa may go for a Cabinet recast are gaining currency. Sections of leaders in the party have also raised an issue that the expanded Cabinet may end up giving too much representation to some districts.

The chief minister can take his Cabinet strength up to 34, and he will have the leeway to induct at least two new faces from among the aspirants. But the number of aspirants is too large for Yediyurappa to stomach; they are not just putting pressure on the chief minister, but are also individually meeting BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh to seek his blessings for their efforts.
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Some of these aspirants include Aravind Limbavali, Umesh Katti, Murugesh Nirani, A Ramadas and CP Yogeshwar, and any misstep by the chief minister could ignite dissidence within the party. Already, leaders and ministers have begun speaking out openly about the three deputy CM posts the party has thrust upon Karnataka. It is no secret that seniors such as ministers R Ashok and KS Eshwarappa are unhappy at being made mere ministers — a climbdown from deputy CMs before. Industries minister Jagadish Shettar, too, is a former chief minister.
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