With speculation about the much awaited expansion or reshuffle of his cabinet persisting, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday reiterated that he is ready to go to New Delhi to discuss it, as soon as the BJP central leadership calls him.
A day after Union Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the city, the Chief Minister on Wednesday said that the senior leader will communicate to him the BJP central leadership’s decision about the cabinet exercise.
With the state cabinet meeting scheduled to be held on May 5 being postponed to May 11, speculations are rife that it may be to accommodate expansion or reshuffle of the Ministry, amid reports that the BJP high command is expected to arrive at a decision in this regard before May 10. “You (media) create things and you ask for clarification on all self made stories….I haven’t said anything else…what he (Shah) has said is he will speak to all other leaders in Delhi and communicate to me, once he tells me, I’m ready to go (to Delhi), that’s all,” Bommai said on Thursday in response to a question on clarity about cabinet expansion or reshuffle.
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. 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 the 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, and there are even talks that several incumbents could make way for fresh faces. Bommai is under pressure from aspirants to expand or reshuffle his cabinet at the earliest, ahead of the 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.