Bengaluru: The pressure being exerted by the newly elected BJP MLAs for inclusion in the B.S. Yediyurappa cabinet notwithstanding, the expansion may not happen so fast for a host of reasons and is likely to take place only after the Sankranti festival due on January 14.
Sources in the BJP told Deccan Chronicle that the inauspicious Shoonya month as per the Hindu calendar has begun and will end only on Sankranthi day. During this phase, people generally do not launch any new projects and so the newly elected MLAs, who had played a pivotal role in pulling down the previous coalition government, may not insist on taking the oath during this period.
There is another reason why the expansion could be delayed till January- the defeated BJP candidates like A.H. Vishwanath and MT.B. Nagaraj will have to be accommodated in the cabinet and that is possible only if they stand a chance of getting elected to the Legislative Council within six months of being inducted.
"Inducting them in December will mean they will have to be made MLCs by May next year but the vacancies in the Upper House-as many as eight- will happen only in June and to ensure that the 6-month deadline is adhered to, they may be inducted into the ministry only in January," sources said adding that this option is being discussed among party leaders. The final decision will be taken by the central leadership.
At present, there is no vacancy in the Council but one is likely to arise if newly elected Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad resigns as MLC. Party sources said this seat will in all probability go to Deputy CM Laxman Savadi who is not a member of the Assembly or Council and will have to be elected to either House by February as he was made minister in August.
Unless of course the high command decides against Savadi's continuance in the Cabinet.
There is also a possibility of party leaders asking some sitting Bharatiya Janata Party members to quit as MLCs so that defeated candidates M.T.B. Nagaraj and Vishwanath can be elected to these seats. Speculative reports are doing the rounds that the BJP has already sounded sitting MLCs like Tejaswini Gowda and Lehar Singh Siroya for this purpose but when contacted, both Mr Singh and Mrs Gowda denied this.
They however made it clear that they are loyal soldiers of the party and will abide by whatever the leadership instructed them.
Meanwhile, Vijayanagar MLA Anand Singh, Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti and Yellapur MLA Shivaram Hebbar called on Yediyurappa at his residence.
According to party sources, they pitched for a cabinet berth and discussed their choice of portfolios.