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Had detailed discussions with Amit Shah on cabinet expansion, says Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa

Currently there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. (Twitter image)

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday said he has had detailed discussions with BJP national President Amit Shah on the cabinet expansion and that the exercise would be carried out after his return from Davos. The Chief Minister told reporters before leaving for Davos to attend the World Economic Forum meet that he hoped his visit would help bring in large-scale investments to the state.

“On cabinet expansion, I had detailed discussions for about half-an-hour (with Amit Shah on Saturday), got a good response… one or two days after I come from Davos, I will expand the cabinet. There are no stumbling blocks for it, Yediyurappa said. He also rubbished media reports about lack of clarity on the Ministry expansion. “It is not right… there are no issues, he said. Asked whether he would travel to Delhi to meet Shah after returning from Davos, Yediyurappa merely said, “It is natural for me to meet Amit Shah.” According to the Chief Ministers tour programme, he will be back in the city on January 24.

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Yediyurappa, along with Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Mansukh Mandaviya, as well as Chief Ministers Amarinder Singh of Punjab and Kamal Nath of Madhya Pradesh, are among those expected to join over 100 Indian CEOs at Davos in the coming days for the WEF’s 50th annual meeting. Stating that he was leaving on a four day trip for Davos with an aim to bring investments to the state, he said interactions have been fixed with 38 industrialists and investors.

“There is a large possibility of investments coming to the state from meetings during the WEF meet. I will assure industrialists and investors that the government will give all necessary facilities within our limits and also clear all the doubts that they have,” the Chief Minister said. He said employment opportunities in Karnataka would increase due to all these efforts. Claiming that the economic situation in Karnataka was stable despite the global economic slowdown, he said the state was also organising the Global Investors Meet in November to attract industries and create employment opportunities. The delegation led by Yediyurappa includes Industries Minister Jagadish Shattar, Chief Secretary T M Vijaya Bhaskar and top officials of the state government.

The Chief Minister,who was anxiously waiting for the high command’s nod to expand his ministry amid intense lobbying by the aspirants, was keen on getting approval for it from Shah, but was asked to visit Delhi after returning from Davos, party sources said. They also said that with J P Nadda all set to take over as BJP National President, he would have final discussions with Yediyurappa on the Ministry expansion exercise.

S R Vishwanath,Political Secretary to the Chief Minister too said that Yediyurappa would go to Delhi after his return from Davos and immediately expand the Ministry. He said the Chief Minister has been asked to hold discussions with Nadda, who is currently BJPs National Working President and finalise things. As the Chief Minister has already made it clear that 11 of the disqualified JDS-Congress MLAs who got re-elected in the bypolls on BJP tickets will be made ministers, lobbying has been on in the party for the remaining ministerial berths.

Currently there are 18 Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the cabinet that has a sanctioned strength of 34. However, with some reports that the high command may not be keen on making all the 11 re-elected legislators, whom Yediyurappa has given assurance, as Ministers, it remains to be seen how things turn out.

Cabinet expansion will not be an easy task for the Chief Minister as he will have to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators as promised and also make place for old guards, upset at being “neglected” in the first round of the induction exercise. He also has to give adequate representation to various castes and regions in his cabinet and also deal with allocation of key portfolios. Also, disqualified legislators who lost on a BJP ticket during the bypoll like A H Vishwanath (Hunsur) openly expressing their ministerial aspirations has added to the Chief Minister’s worry.

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Source: Financial Express