Karnataka Government has decided to expand the Cabinet in view of filling the vacant portfolios. Before leaving for World Economic Forum 2020 at DAVOS in Switzerland, CM Yediyurappa confirmed on Sunday that the Karnataka Cabinet Expansion will take place after two days of his return from DAVOS. 

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The Chief Minister can have a 34 member Assembly including himself, he conscripted 17 ministers and left the 16 positions vacant for further expansion.

On January 18, Amit Shah was scheduled to visit Karnataka to participate in a pro-Citizenship Amendment Act campaign in Hubballi and the CM BS Yediyurappa was planning to get along with him there as Shah had cold-shouldered his various requests for a conference to debate the issue. But unfortunately, he had to adjourn the exercise until he returns from Davos. If Yediyurappa receives a green signal from Amit Shah, then he will have to hustle through the process of inducting ministers. Once the new ministers will take the oath, Yediyurappa’s presence will become essential to drench his disappointment. As Shah is willing to share 16 vacant cabinet berths equally amongst loyal MLAs and the new participants, Yediyurappa had to fulfil his promise of electing all the newly-elected MLAs, who shifted from Congress and JD(S) to the BJP. 

According to Shah, loyalists will be indigested if 12 berths will be given to the traitors which will surely impact the party’s prospects in the next election. He believes that no traitor has an administrative experience or mass appeal. 

Why did Karnataka Government Expand Cabinet?

Although the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah is reluctant in giving time to Karnataka CM for determining the MLAs acquiring the portfolios, CM Yediyurappa wishes to abandon a few ministers and reassemble the cabinet. As BJP high command is more interested in expanding the cabinet only, the opposition Congress and JD(S) is alleging that the BJP high command is playing with the people of Karnataka. 

Yediyurappa promulgated that 11 MLAs who competed favourably in the by-elections for party tickets would be considered for the re-election of ministers posterior to invalidation of revolting against the Congress-JDS government. 

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As the present strength of the cabinet includes 18 members along with the chief minister, the authorised strength of the cabinet is 34. Yediyurappa government held its place in the Assembly by brushing off the by-elections on December 5th triumphing 12 out of 15 seats. 

Karnataka has three deputy chief ministers with the five-month-old BJP government – Govind Kajrol, CM Ashwath Narayan and Laxman Savadi. Due to the rising demand of deputy CMs in Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa will soon be writing off the posts of deputy CMs altogether. BJP central leadership is unwilling for the creation of more deputy CMs posts. 

During the Cabinet revamping, the three current deputy CMs will be switched to Cabinet Ministers. The CM cannot find any other solution for stopping unnecessary campaigning taking place in the state and the central high commands, and the growing clash among the aspirants for deputy CM posts. 

Leaders in Karnataka Government Expansion

17 BJP leaders have taken oath as Cabinet Ministers in which BJP leadership has attempted to harmonise caste and regional equations through the expansion. The simple ceremony held in Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru in the esteemed presence of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa where 17 BJP leaders along with a former CM and an ex-MLA sworn in. 

Lingayats, the biggest civilisation in Karnataka were having lion’s share of the Cabinet positions. Out of 105 BJP MLAs, there are 37 Lingayat MLAs. 

The newly elected ministers include V Somanna, R Ashok, CN Ashwathnarayana, S.Suresh Kumar, CT Ravi, KS Eshwarappa, Jagadish Shettar, Prabhu Chauhan, Shashikala Jolle, Govind Karjol, B Sriramulu, Kota Srinivasa Poojari, H Nagesh, JC Madhuswamy, Basavaraj Bommai, Laxman Savadi and CC Patil. 

Two former Deputy CMs have been accommodated in BJP council – R Ashoka and KS Eshwarappa. The MLAs from the previous JD(S)-Congress regime have replaced their loyalties, independent MLA from Mulabagal H Nagesh made it into the Assembly. The previous speaker Ramesh Kumar fielded for Cabinet was also excluded 17 MLAs none of whom could be included in Cabinet in view of the legal complications involved. Their plea denouncing the invalidation was undergoing before the Supreme Court. 

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BS Yediyurappa has to maintain a balance by incorporating the triumphed disqualified council members as he had guaranteed and will keep a place for old guards who were agitated after being overlooked in the primary round of the induction practice. 

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