Bengaluru: The much-awaited expansion of the Karnataka cabinet is not likely to happen before January 23. Chief minister B S Yediyurappa has to get a green signal from Amit Shah.
A consultation with the BJP president is likely to happen on January 18 when he is scheduled to visit Karnataka for a rally in Hubballi to drum up support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
But the very next day, January 19, Yediyurappa is to travel to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF). He will return only on January 23.
Yedirurappa told reporters as much in Shikaripura on Wednesday: “Amit Shah is coming to the state on January 18. After discussing with him, I will expand the cabinet."
The chief minister, meanwhile is being lobbied by ministry aspirants. Among them are the 11 defector legislators who got re-elected on BJP tickets in the December 5 byelections.
The chief minister has stated publicly earlier that these 11 defectors will be accommodated in the ministry. This has intensified lobbying for the remaining ministerial berths.
Currently there are 18 ministers, including the chief minister, in the cabinet, which can be no larger than 34.
According to party sources, Yediyurappa planned to visit New Delhi to get clearance for his nominations from the BJP high command but he did not get an appointment.
However, some reports have suggested that the high command may not be keen on making all the 11 defector legislators ministers. it remains to be seen how things turn out.
Cabinet expansion will not be an easy task for Yediyurapa. He has to accommodate the defectors while also making place for some of the old guard who are cribbing about being "neglected". Plus he has to give representation to various castes and regions.