Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said Union Home Minister Amit Shah will communicate to him on BJP central leadership’s decision about expansion or reshuffle of the state cabinet. Shah was in the city on Tuesday, during which he took part in various events, and attended lunch at Bommai’s official residence where he was closeted with select state BJP leaders.
“He (Shah) said, he will talk (to me), after going to Delhi,” Bommai said in response to a question on what Shah has communicated to him regarding cabinet expansion or reshuffle. Asked about speculations over a cabinet reshuffle and having Deputy Chief Ministers, he said, “It is something, I’m getting to know from you (media).” Shah’s visit to the city came amid buzz over possible changes in the leadership, and pressure to rejig or expand the cabinet, ahead of Assembly polls in 2023.
Several top BJP leaders have denied speculations about Bommai’s replacement. According to top BJP sources, Shah too is said to have asked Bommai to focus on development and election preparations, and leave the rest to the party leadership.
Amid murmurs in the BJP circles that a top-to-bottom overhaul of the cabinet cannot be ruled out, ministerial aspirants are hopeful that a decision is likely soon regarding cabinet expansion or reshuffle, amid talks that several incumbents could make way for fresh faces. Meanwhile, the state cabinet meeting that was scheduled to be held on May 5 has been postponed to May 11.
This has given rise to speculations that the postponement may be to accommodate expansion in the state cabinet or reshuffling it, amid reports that the BJP high command is expected to arrive at a decision in this regard before May 10. Bommai is under pressure from aspirants to expand or reshuffle his cabinet at the earliest, ahead of polls next year.
There are currently five positions vacant in the state cabinet, which 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.