Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai arrived in the national capital on Friday and his sudden visit, the second in less than 10 days, sparked speculation in political circles, especially within the ruling BJP. After landing in Delhi, the chief minister directly went to call on a Union minister, sources said.
Though there was no mention of Bommai’s meeting with the BJP’s central leadership in his official tour programme, some party sources said he was likely to meet them and hold discussions. While it has raised hopes among ministerial aspirants for a Cabinet expansion, some believe that this might be to discuss the upcoming polls to Rajya Sabha, Legislative Council and local bodies.
Also, the murmurs regarding possible leadership change in the state have refused to die down following the recent developments in Tripura despite the party time and again clarifying that there is no question of Bommai’s exit. The chief minister left Bengaluru for the national capital this afternoon and his return schedule to Bengaluru has been kept “open”.
According to the tour programme released to the media, he is expected to meet Union ministers. Bommai, who was in New Delhi on May 10 and 11, had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the second day and held discussions about the much-awaited expansion or rejig of his Cabinet.
After the meeting, he had said the BJP central leadership would communicate its decision in this regard after discussions and that “anything may happen at any time.” The chief minister is under pressure from aspirants to expand his Cabinet at the earliest, ahead of Assembly polls next year. Some aspirants said they are of the opinion that at this juncture such an exercise would not be useful, as, they said, the tenure of the new inductees would be very less.
Amid rumours in BJP circles that a top-to-bottom overhaul of the Cabinet cannot be ruled out, ministerial aspirants said they are hopeful of a decision soon regarding Cabinet expansion or reshuffle, and there are talks that even several incumbents could make way for fresh faces. There are currently five positions vacant in the Cabinet, which has 29 ministers, including the chief minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34.
Some legislators have been advocating a Gujarat-like overhaul of the Karnataka Cabinet soon to make way for new faces. Shah had visited Bengaluru earlier this month amid buzz over possible changes in the leadership, and pressure to rejig or expand the Cabinet.
With inputs from News18