Amidst hectic parlays between Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and several disgruntled MLAs, vying for ministerial berths, the cabinet expansion is slated to occur on Thursday.
Addressing the media in Bengaluru on Wednesday, BS Yediyurappa said that only 10 out of the 11 Congress-JD(S) turncoats, who won the bye-polls in December 2019 would be sworn in as ministers on Thursday.
The swearing in ceremony is slated to take place at Raj Bhavan at 10.30 am on Thursday. "I have spoken with leaders in Delhi and we have decided that only 10 new ministers will be inducted into the cabinet. We will see how we can accommodate Mahesh Kumatahalli. We will convince him by giving him some other post," Chief Minister Yediyurappa said.
The 10 MLAs, who will take oath on Wednesday are Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram), BC Patil (Hirekerur), ST Somashekhar (Yeshwantpur), Anand B Singh (Vijayanagar), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), Narayana Gowda (Krishnarajapet) Shrimant Patil (Kagwad) and K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout).
BJP sources say that Mahesh Kumatahalli would be offered a plum post as the director of a state-run corporation.
Speculation was rife on Tuesday after BJP legislators from Hyderbad-Karnataka region led by Shorapur MLA Narasimha Nayak alias Raju Gouda showed up at Yediyurappa's residence and demanded that an MLA from the region be accommodated in the cabinet.
In addition, the six BJP MLAs from Dakshina Kannada district began restlessly questioning BJP state President Nalin Kumar Kateel as to why a single leader from the coastal districts (the BJP's fortress) had not been given a ministerial berth.
The frantic lobbying began after it became known that Yediyurappa had got the high command's approval to induct Umesh Katti, BJP leader from Channapatna, CP Yogeshwar and Halappa Achar (Yelaburga) into the cabinet. Yediyurappa had decided this after meeting with Amit Shah earlier in January and got a list of 13 names approved.
These disgruntled leaders threatened a full-scale rebellion within the party, leaving Yediyurappa, Nalin Kumar Kateel and the high command in a fix. Sources say that Yediyurappa had to hold talks with the high command again after which the decision was made to induct only 10 new ministers in order to quell the rebellion.
Party sources said that the high command has suggested a cabinet reshuffle in July this year, where the disgruntled leaders can be accommodated. "In July, the leaders who defected but did not end up winning will be made MLCs and then given ministerial berths. MTB Nagaraj will definitely be accommodated but AH Vishwanath and R Shankar are unlikely to get anything. In addition, some of the older ministers in the cabinet will be dropped to make way for other aspirants," the source added.