Indicating that expansion of his cabinet may take some time, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said he will discuss it with the party’s central leadership and decide in the days to come.
“I’m going to Delhi tomorrow morning, there I will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP National President J P Nadda. This is my first visit (as CM), this will be to greet them and take their blessings," Bommai said.
Meanwhile, former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said he will not interfere in cabinet expansion exercise, and the incumbent Basavaraj Bommai was free to induct anyone he wants into his Ministry.
“I will not interfere in anything," Yediyurappa said in response to a question on the expansion of the new cabinet. Speaking to reporters after meeting with Sangh Parivar leaders here, he said he has told all party leaders and ‘karyakartas’ that if they want to discuss Ministership and other matters they should speak to the Chief Minister, and not pressurise him.
Speaking to reporters on his arrival at Hubballi on his way to flood and rain-ravaged Uttara Kannada district, he said after this visit in two or three days he will seek the leadership’s time to discuss the cabinet expansion and during that visit things may be finalised. Meanwhile, Ministerial aspirants have already begun lobbying to secure a berth in the new cabinet.
Earlier in the day speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, in response to a question about pressure on him from Ministerial aspirants, he said, “it is common. Once someone becomes the CM and has to expand the cabinet, it is common."
He also said that the Prime Minister spoke to him over phone on Wednesday and wished him all the best, as he also expressed hopes of good administration from him.
“When I go to Delhi to meet the party leadership, I will also try to meet our Members of Parliament and central Ministers from Karnataka on the pending projects and issues concerning the state," he added.
Bommai, who was elected as the new leader of the BJP legislature party on Tuesday, following B S Yediyurappa’s resignation, took oath as the Chief Minister on Wednesday.
Stating that he has spoken to senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who has decided not to be part of the new cabinet, Bommai said, he will talk to him personally and discuss it with the party leadership.
“I have told him (Shettar) that I will come and speak to him personally. We have close bonding as we have grown together. We were friends even before we came to politics, so I have good regard, love and affection towards him and he too has similar feelings for me. We had a good relationship even when we were in different parties," he said.
Shettar said, as he is a senior leader and a former Chief Minister, he has decided not to be part of the new cabinet, and has got good response for his stand from various quarters, across the state.
“Despite being a former Chief Minister, I was part of Yediyurappa’s cabinet because Yediyurappa is our senior and tallest leader of the party and I was Minister under him earlier too, there was no uneasiness there. But in today’s situation I’m a senior leader, so I’m not joining," he said, adding that not just because it is Bommai, if anyone else would have become CM also, his decision would have been the same.
Shettar said he has made his stand known to state BJP President, the Chief Minister, Yediyurappa and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, and maintained that he is committed to the party, as his family has served it from the Jana Sangh’s days.