The second Cabinet expansion of the BJP government in Karnataka would take place after the party chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the names to be finalised soon, Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa said on Tuesday.
While speaking to reporters he said, “The Cabinet will be expanded soon after Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi approve the names to be finalised in consultations with the party high command when I go to Delhi in 3-4 days.”
BJP has bagged 12 MLAs in the recently concluded bye-elections for 15 seats held on December 5 in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly. Yeddyurappa had promised ministerial berths to all the rebel members of JD(S)-Congress alliance who helped the BJP to come in power, whom the party later gave tickets to contest the bypolls.
“I am committed to honour the word I have given them for resigning their Assembly seats and joining our party to contest and win on our symbol. They have to be rewarded for sacrificing their seats, which led to the fall of the previous JD(S)-Congress coalition government in July,” recalled Yediyurappa.
It is to be noted that the first Cabinet expansion took place on August 20 this year, when 17 BJP legislators including one independent, with three deputy chief ministers were inducted.
There are 16 posts which fall vacant in the 34-member ministry of Yeddyurappa-led Karnataka government. These posts have to be filled in the second phase of expansion.
In mid-July, the resignations from 17 rebel legislators including 14 from the Congress and 3 from the JD(S) led to the fall of 14-month-old Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state. On July 18, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy moved a confidence motion which he lost. The coalition government fell on July 23 that resulted in the depletion of the majority figure, which BJP claimed.
The 17 rebel legislators were disqualified by the then Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for the remaining term of the House that lasts till May 2023. However, the Supreme Court allowed them to recontest the bypolls held on December 5.
Out of the 11 rebel legislators who fought and emerged as winner from BJP ticket in the bypolls, 9 are from the Congress and 2 from the JD(S).
BJP gave 13 out of 17 rebel legislators ticket for the bypolls out of which 11 came out as winner while the two who lost the bypolls were MTB Nagaraj who rebelled from Congress and HP Manjunath from JD(S). These two lost from independent Sharath Kumar Bachegowda and HP Manjunath of the Congress respectively.
Nagaraj, who was the state housing minister in the previous coalition government was the richest candidate in the by-elections.
Interestingly, the Congress defector BL Shankar joined the BJP on November 14, but he was not given ticket by the BJP to re-contest from the Ranibennur in Haveli district. The party fielded its local leader F Arun Kumar in his place, who won defeating KB Koliwad of the Congress.
As per reports from IANS, after the 11 posts to be filled by the winners, hectic lobbying began among the ruling party’s legislators in the state.
The bye-election was conducted on 15 out of 17 vacant seats, as the two seats are under the pending litigation in Karnataka High Court. As per the reports, Munirathna Naidu, who defected from Congress and joined BJP would be contesting from the RR Nagar in Bengaluru southwest, one of those two seats.