Bommai remains tight lipped on new cabinet, says decision after Delhi visit
Bengaluru: After Basavaraj Bommai’s appointment as Karnataka chief minister, speculations have now begun on the cabinet posts. On Wednesday, when asked about the cabinet expansion, Bommai said that decision would be taken after his visit to New Delhi.
Talking about the cabinet formation, on Wednesday morning, Bommai said, “I met Dharmendra Pradhan and Arun Singh this morning. They have told me there is no need for any meeting (on cabinet formation) today (Wednesday). We will make a decision after they have left.”
He also clarified that during his first visit to Delhi he will be meeting PM Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh and BJP national president J P Nadda to thank them, and thereafter he will discuss with leaders on the cabinet expansion.
“We won’t take much time. For all the work that needs to be completed, we need a full team (of ministers). So, we will do it (cabinet formation) at the earliest,” he added.
While the party leadership has remained tightlipped about the candidates, party insiders say that the saffron party will stick to three-deputy chief minister formula. “Like the last term, there will be three deputy chief ministers and they will be from the three prominent communities,” said a senior BJP office bearer on the condition of anonymity.
In the previous government, Govind Karjol, a Dalit, CN Ashwath Narayan Gowda, a Vokkaliga and Laxman Savadi, a Lingayat were deputy CMs. This was a signal that has been sent to all the three major caste groups in the state that their interests are being taken care of.
The office bearer, however, indicated that in this term, instead of having a Lingayat deputy chief minister, two deputy chief ministers could represent the ST and SC community. “The party has made a decision to pay attention to the other communities in the state as well. Also, the chief minister is a Lingayat,” he said.
The three popular candidates speculated to the next deputy chief minister are B Sriramalu (ST), Govind Karjol (SC) and R Ashok (Vokkaliga). “The final decision will be taken by the central leadership, but these are the names that are on top of the list,” said a senior BJP leader.
Apart from the DCM post, the future of the rebel MLAs is a matter of concern as well. 10 MLAs who had left the Congress and JD(S) during the 2019 political crisis, are staring at an uncertain future ahead of the cabinet formation. Since their resignations had paved the way for Yediyurappa to form a government, all of them were given a cabinet berth and other important posts in the government.
With the change in guard, it remains unclear if they will find space in the new cabinet. In the previous government, Yediyurappa had stood his ground to ensure all of them got postings. “It doesn’t look like all of them will get cabinet posts this time. Mostly, only those high performing ministers will be retained. But at the same time, they are not part of the BJP, and they will go by the high command’s decision. There is no doubt about it,” said a senior leader.
Senior Congress leader and the leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah had said that none of these rebel MLAs will be taken back, which puts the 10 MLAs in a tough position.