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Impending local body polls may come in the way of ministerial expansion in Karnataka

By B.S. Satish Kumar

The wait for ministerial expansion in Karnataka will continue indefinitely as the party central leadership is said to be not inclined to allow it when the State may be compelled to hold elections to a slew of local bodies. They include elections to zilla and taluk panchayats besides the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council, depending upon the impact of the Supreme Court’s directive on holding elections to local bodies in Madhya Pradesh.

It is learnt that the BJP central leadership wants its Karnataka unit to focus now on these elections which are crucial for strengthening the party organisation as well as cadre ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls.

Though a clear picture on whether the elections to ZPs, TPs, and the BBMP council will have to be held immediately is yet to emerge, the party central leadership is reportedly keen that priority should be given to preparing for these polls rather than ministerial expansion.

While the ZP and TP polls are a major platform for strengthening the party in rural areas, small towns, and semi-urban areas, the BBMP is crucial as it accounts for 28 Assembly seats — the biggest chunk in the 224-member State Assembly.

Also, the BJP high command is said to be not taking lightly even the elections to the Upper House of the State legislature scheduled on June 3 as it is an opportunity for the party to get a full majority in the 75-member Legislative Council which would help it bring in Bills related to its core ideology.

Such a mood of the party high command would suggest that the ministerial expansion may be put off indefinitely for now, sources in the BJP said, though Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai maintained that “anything can happen at anytime” on ministerial expansion.

He wound up his two-day visit to New Delhi on Wednesday after holding consultations with Union Home Minister and BJP key strategist Amit Shah on ministerial expansion as well as various political developments, including the possible impact of the apex court order on holding elections to local bodies.

Mr. Bommai, who could not meet party national president J.P. Nadda, said Mr. Shah had indicated to him that a decision on ministerial expansion would be made by the party central leadership in two or three days after studying all the political developments.

“A decision on ministerial expansion would be made based on the overall political developments that include issues related to the impact of the Supreme Court order on holding elections to local bodies. The situation has been explained to Mr. Shah. The next week is going to be very crucial. He has said that he would convey his decision after studying issues related to local body elections, which are very crucial for the State,” Mr. Bommai said.

He also made it clear that his consultations with Mr. Shah did not reach the level of discussing the names of probables for inclusion in the Cabinet.

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Dive Deeper:
Does Bommai's Delhi visit hint at Karnataka cabinet rejig or expansion? Read here
The Karnataka CM is set to travel to New Delhi on Tuesday morning, however, his return schedule to Bengaluru on…
RS polls: BJP assured of two seats, Congress one
The ruling BJP is most likely to win one more seat
Bommai's Delhi visit sparks speculation about expansion or rejig of Karnataka cabinet
BENGALURU: Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai's New Delhi visit, amid speculations about the cabinet expansion or reshuffle, has raised hopes…
Central leaders will take a decision on Karnataka cabinet expansion in 3-4 days, says Yediyurappa
Yediyurappa said he was unaware if the 17 MLAs who joined the BJP and were given ministerial berths would continue…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
BJP State core committee to meet today to discuss Council, RS polls
Bengaluru
Supreme Court verdict prompts Karnataka to hold BBMP Polls
BENGALURU: Dragging its feet over holding polls to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the state government suffered a bitter…
Get all your news in one place