CM’s Davos trip delays Karnataka cabinet expansion again

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CM’s Davos trip delays Karnataka cabinet expansion again
Bengaluru: The much-awaited expansion of the BJP government in Karnataka got delayed again, as Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has left for Switzerland to participate in the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, a party official said on Sunday.

“The cabinet expansion could not take place as the Chief Minister had to leave for Davos on Sunday on a four-day trip to showcase the state as an investment destination at the Forum. It is likely to take place after his return on January 24,” party’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudhana told IANS here.

Though Yediyurappa discussed the issue with party President Amit Shah during the latter’s visit to Bengaluru and Hubballi on Saturday, the date for cabinet expansion could not be decided.

“As Yediyurappa could not meet Shah last week in New Delhi due to the latter’s pre-occupation with pro-and anti-CAA protests as the Union Home Minister and other party affairs, names for the remaining 16 ministerial berths could not be finalised for the oath-taking ceremony on January 16-17, scheduled tentatively earlier,” the spokesman said.

Efforts to expand the cabinet after the by-elections to 15 Assembly seats on December 5 and their favourable results to the ruling party on December 9 did not succeed due to Shah’s pre-occupation with the winter session of Parliament and nationwide protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposal to extended the National Register of Citizens across the country from Assam.

The BJP won 12 of the 15 assembly seats, while the opposition Congress could win only two and an Independent won one.

“The cabinet will be expanded in the last week of January or first week of February as the Legislature is set to meet for the first time this year from February 18 and the state budget for the ensuing fiscal (2020-21) has to be presented on March 5. It will give enough time for the ministers to settle down for the task of administration,” said Madhusudhana.

With scores of aspirants vying for a ministerial berth, hectic lobbying is on in the ruling party as there are only 16 vacant posts to fill after 17 were inducted in the first cabinet expansion on August 21, with three as Deputy Chief Ministers.

“Among the aspiring legislators, some of them will be made chairmen of boards and corporations… All of them cannot be made ministers due to political compulsions and to ensure the nearly 6-month old government completes its over 3 years remaining office term,” he said.

The cabinet expansion will also enable Yediyurappa to distribute most of the portfolios he and some of the ministers are holding due to 16 vacancies since they were inducted in August.

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