BENGALURU: Since February this year, when ten ministers were inducted into the BS Yediyurappa cabinet, it’s been a long wait for the rest of the ministerial aspirants in the state BJP. After prolonged delays in expansion plans due to budget, floods, Covid-19, assembly session, Rajya Sabha elections, auspicious season, Dasara, Deepavali and bypolls to assembly seats, the aspirants were finally hopeful of having a shot at the cabinet, but the Gram Panchayat poll dates announced on Monday look to be the next hurdle.
Reiterating his stand on the expansion, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that a decision will be taken in a couple of days. “Wait for another two days,” he told reporters dismissively, when asked. On whether cabinet expansion would be postponed due to Gram Panchayat polls, Yediyurappa said the two were not related, keeping hope alive among the aspirants.
Around the same time, Urban Development Minister BA Basavaraj (Byrathi) said the GP polls could delay expansion, and appealed to aspirants to remain patient. “Election code of conduct is in place. Naturally, cabinet expansion will be postponed. Decisions were taken after discussions with the high command and he (Chief Minister) was awaiting their nod. Now, Gram Panchayat elections have been announced. We have to be patient. Aspirants will have to wait for a few more days,” he said.
While the code of conduct on the State Election Commission’s website prohibits ad-hoc appointments to government and public institutions, there is no mention of cabinet expansion. The Chief Minister’s Office reiterated Yediyurappa’s statement that cabinet expansion does not fall under the purview of Gram Panchayat election code of conduct.
However, while Yediyurappa is said to have already discussed expansion plans with the high command, the approaching Gram Panchayat polls may apply the brakes on it for the time being to give the party, cadres and leaders space to concentrate on elections.