Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday expressed confidence of soon getting a final clearance from the central BJP leadership for the much-awaited cabinet rejig in the state after he met senior party leaders including its chief JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. State party in-charge Arun Singh was also present in an hour-long meeting held at Shah's residence in Delhi.
"On cabinet expansion, there was a detailed discussion. You will get good news soon," Yediyurappa told reporters after the meeting. He said the final names will be cleared as early as possible because there was "positive, fruitful and satisfactory discussion".
"I am happy with the discussion…we will wait for their instructions," he said, adding the central leadership has assured its support. When asked if this was the last meeting on cabinet expansion with the senior party leaders, the CM said, "A 101 percent this is the last meeting. They are going to clear the names as soon as possible." The cabinet expansion in the state has been on the cards for over a year now, but it could not take place, giving some anxious moments to ministerial aspirants and also leading to dissatisfaction.
Further, the CM said he suggested some names and also expressed confidence that the central BJP leadership will respond to that in a positive way. Asked if it would be a cabinet expansion or a re-shuffle, the CM said "you will get to know when they inform".
Apart from the cabinet rejig, the CM said there were discussions also on the upcoming bypolls in the state for two assembly and one parliamentary seats. "They asked me to send the names of the candidates at the earliest for clearance," he said, adding the leadership also told him to ensure the party's victory on all three seats.
The senior party leaders also expressed happiness over recent gram Panchayat results, he added. The CM said he will return to Bengaluru tonight itself. Among those in the ministerial race in the state are MLAs Umesh Katti, Munirathna, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, M P Renukacharya, Aravind Limbavali and S R Vishwanath. Three MLCs — C P Yogeshwar, MTB Nagaraj and R Shankar — are too aspiring for a ministerial berth.
Another MLC, A H Vishwanath, too was in the race but his hopes dashed when the Karnataka High Court on November 30 barred him from becoming a minister until at least May this year. The state can have a total of 34 ministers and it has 27 now.
By-polls are scheduled for Maski and Basavakalyan assembly segments, and Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency. While Maski fell vacant due to the resignation of sitting Congress MLA Pratap Gouda Patil in 2019, the by-polls to Basavakalyan and Belagavi seats have been necessitated by the deaths of their representatives B Narayan Rao and Suresh Angadi, respectively, due to coronavirus.