Cabinet expansion only after Delhi Assembly polls?

The much-delayed Cabinet expansion is now likely only in February after the completion of the Delhi Assembly polls, according to multiple sources in the BJP.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had recently said that he would visit New Delhi to consult with the high command and expand the Cabinet before his trip to Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. However, the meeting did not come through and he is now expected to meet Home Minister Amit Shah on January 18, when he will visit Hubballi to attend a rally on CAA. But he will leave for Davos on January 19, which almost rules out expansion before his Davos trip, his close associates said.

“After Mr. Yediyurappa returns from Davos, there will be little time for the high command to clear the Cabinet expansion, as the Union Budget is scheduled for February 1 and the Delhi Assembly polls for February 8. The party high command will not be willing to open another front during this period,” a senior party strategist said.

While leaders close to the Chief Minister are upset over Mr. Shah not giving him an appointment for many months now, other leaders in the State unit blamed the CM himself for the delay. “Mr. Yediyurappa has not been not able to finalise a suitable combination for his Cabinet balancing regional, caste aspirations. He is under tremendous pressure from multiple interests, as was evident with the recent public demand for ministries to specific individuals by a Lingayat seer,” said a senior Minister in the government. Proposals to drop a few Ministers to accommodate new faces has also driven discord even within the Cabinet, sources said.

Meanwhile, Dinesh Gundu Rao, KPCC president who has now submitted his resignation, said the CM seemed to be under huge pressure. “The BJP high command is humiliating our CM by not giving him time and appointment. Is this the way to behave with the CM of a State?” he asked.

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