Another BJP legislator presses for expansion of CM Bommai cabinet
Another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator in Karnataka on Sunday said the Basavaraj Bommai-led cabinet should be expanded at the earliest, indicating rumblings within the ruling party over the delay in the exercise.
“If the party does decide to expand the cabinet, it should be done now,” said Abhay Patil, the BJP legislator from Belagavi Dakshin. “I had said this earlier as well that if the cabinet has to be expanded, it has to be done now.”
He, however, said that it was up to the party to decide on who becomes a minister.
“Anyone who becomes a minister should be doing so by exhibiting performance and not because they can put up a board as a former minister. It is about performance and for this adequate time should be there. Right now there is not enough time. For ministers to show their ability, they need at least two years but for inevitable reasons, it keeps going back and forth,” he added.
Patil said that a minimum of six months should be given to new ministers.
The statements come at a time when BJP legislators in the state are growing impatient over the cabinet expansion after several leaders from the old guard or those who have served for decades in the party were overlooked once again in favour of those who recently defected to the saffron fold in 2019.
On Thursday, senior BJP legislators Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and M P Renukacharya held closed-door discussions and pushed for a cabinet rejig, by replacing what they called ineffective ministers who are in the party only for the sake of power.
There is also growing discontentment after Bommai was chosen to replace BS Yediyurappa who was forced to step down over allegations of corruption in July last year. Bommai has been with the BJP for around 13 years and was picked as the chief minister while several other leaders, who have helped shape the party in Karnataka for decades, were overlooked.
Speculations that the BJP high command will replace Bommai over allegations of corruption and non-performance have also died down as the party focuses its attention on poll-bound states like Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Punjab among others.
A meeting of BJP legislators was also held at the residence of food and civil supplies minister Umesh Katti on Saturday evening, fuelling speculation of a growing divide within the party.
The divide within the party had cost it the Hanagal assembly seat in last year’s bypolls and other crucial seats in the December MLC elections. The fear remains that if the same continues, the Congress is likely to gain from this in the upcoming elections including zilla and taluka panchayati, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the 2023 assembly polls.