BS Yediyurappa says decision on Karnataka Cabinet expansion will be taken new BJP state in-charge

Belagavi: Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday said that the much awaited expansion or reshuffle of his Cabinet would depend on what message the new BJP general secretary in-charge of the state Arun Singh is carrying from the party high command in New Delhi.

“Our new state in-charge Arun Singh is coming to Karnataka for the first time. He is coming to Belagavi via Goa tonight. He will be here for two days and will guide us,” Yediyurappa told reporters.

Asked about reports that the cabinet expansion or reshuffle was likely on Sunday, he said, “Whatever message Arun Singh ji is carrying, things will depend on that.”

Singh, who was appointed as BJP General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka last month, will be in Belagavi to attend the state BJP core committee and executive committee meeting.

Yediyurappa has been waiting for some time now to carry out the cabinet exercise, as he was asked by BJP president JP Nadda during their 18 November meeting in New Delhi to wait for clearance from the central leadership.

After reaching Belavagi to attend the meeting, he said all senior party office bearers would, in the presence of Singh and party state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel, discuss about further strengthening the party from the ground level in the days to come.

“We have won all the elections till now (after coming to power). We will have to win the coming byelections to two assembly seats (Maski and Basavakalyan) and one Lok Sabha seat (Belagavi),” he said.

Noting that preparations are also on for the Gram Panchayat polls, the chief minister said party teams had toured the state and got a great response from the people.

“Gram panchayat elections are crucial for strengthening the organisation. We will discuss and strategise on winning more number of seats,” he said.

Singh’s visit and meetings have come amid a raging debate within the party between the newcomers (Congress-JDS rebels now with BJP) and some of the old guard over the induction exercise.

The former claim the BJP came to power because of them and they should be given preference for their ‘sacrifice’, while the latter have asserted that it is they who have nurtured the party to this level.

There are also reports of resentment against Yediyurappa’s recent assertion that MLC C P Yogeshwar will be inducted into the cabinet.

Several MLAs are said to be upset by the move as the latter is not directly elected by the people and his induction would scuttle their chances.

The cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope walk for the Chief Minister, considering that there are too many aspirants, from the party old guard to Congress-JD(S) rebels, who are now BJP legislators.

The cabinet currently has 27 members and seven berths are still vacant.

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