Expansion: No exits, only new faces

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The ruling BJP, which was earlier planning to drop a few ministers loyal to former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, now seems to have dropped the idea. Party sources said the removal of the ministers would be a tough task at a time when the party is riven by internal differences. The state leadership has reportedly advised Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda to run the government smoothly without causing bad blood by dropping ministers identified with one faction.

“The Cabinet expansion will take place in due course. But we cannot be sure about the date. The central leadership will give its nod for expansion once legal issues pertaining to former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa are sorted out”, sources close to the CM said. “The CM’s first priority is to reduce his burden by expanding his nine month-old Cabinet and allocating the portfolios he is handling now, to the new entrants”, a minister close to Mr Sadananda Gowda told this newspaper.

Sources said BJP in-charge for Karnataka, Dharmendra Pradhan is expected to visit Bengaluru to discuss the expansion only after the Supreme Court decides on the CEC recommendation for a CBI probe into mining deals involving the former CM. Speaking to reporters at the Janata Darshan on Monday, the Chief Minister said the Cabinet will be expanded once the high command gives its green signal. However, he ruled out any connection between the exercise and the SC ruling in the case pertaining to BSY. “I am confident the central leadership will give its nod for expansion within a week”, the CM said, adding that the delay was not hampering the implementation of developmental works.

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