Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai who is under pressure to expand or rejig his cabinet at the earliest, ahead of the Assembly polls next year, on Friday said he would try to discuss in this regard with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is scheduled to visit the city on May 3. The Chief Minister who is travelling to Delhi tonight on an official visit said he will not be meeting the party high command during the tour.
“I have taken note of the sentiments made by them (MLAs) and have conveyed them to the high command, who said a decision will be taken at the appropriate time. Most probably Amit Shah is scheduled to visit Bengaluru on May 3, I will use the opportunity then (to discuss about the cabinet)," he said in response to a question on the demand from legislators to expand the cabinet ahead of polls.
Speaking to reporters here, Bommai said he is leaving for Delhi tonight to attend a conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of all states, and will be attending a dinner hosted by Prime Minister in the evening, and will be traveling back to Bengaluru early Sunday, so will not be meeting any central Ministers or the party president during the visit.
Shah is scheduled to visit Bengaluru on May 3 to take part in the valedictory function of ‘Khelo India’ University Games here. With polls scheduled next year, there is pressure mounting on the CM to expand or rejig his cabinet soon, after the recent Assembly elections in five states.
With the cabinet exercise taking time, voices of discontent seem to be brewing within the ruling BJP, as party MLA M P Renukacharya on Wednesday had openly expressed displeasure about the delay and working of few ministers.
The MLA, who is also the Chief Minister’s political secretary, said several party legislators are of a similar opinion and they feel that if new faces are inducted into the cabinet, they would work aggressively and bring a good name to the BJP and the government ahead of the 2023 assembly polls.
Bommai has been maintaining that he is awaiting for a direction from BJP central leadership to carry out the cabinet exercise. There are currently five positions vacant in the state cabinet, that has 29 ministers including the Chief Minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34.
Some legislators have even been advocating a Gujarat-like overhaul of the Karnataka Cabinet soon, to make way for new faces, ahead of the Assembly elections. The cabinet exercise will be crucial ahead of the Assembly elections, in which the saffron party aims to return to power once again, and has set a target of winning a minimum of 150 seats in the 225-member House.