One and a half years after the formation of the BJP government in Karnataka, the cabinet is expected to be at full strength this week. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa made a flying visit to New Delhi on Sunday where he met party leaders including Amit Shah to finalise the long-pending issue.
Mr Yediyurappa said, "We are finalising seven names. As 14th is a festival, it is likely to happen on 13th afternoon." It was later confirmed the cabinet expansion will take place tomorrow at 3:30 PM.
Cabinet expansions can often be tricky for those making the selection decision - with the danger of ruffling feathers of those left out. In Karnataka, the situation was complicated by the promises made to several former Congress and Janata Dal Secular MLAs, who made the BJP government formation possible by jumping ship last year.
The Chief Minister has assured them of cabinet berths as a reward. When the disqualification of these MLAs was lifted, most of them stood as BJP candidates in the by polls to their former seats - and most of them won.
Many of the winners were accommodated in the cabinet - including the now high-profile health minister Dr L Sudhakar, a former Congressman. But some lost - like the extremely wealthy MTB Nagaraj and former JDS President H Vishwanath. They were later nominated as members of the legislative council by the BJP.
Mr Vishwanath said, "Our beloved leader, Shri Yediyurappaji is expanding his ministry tomorrow. After a long time, after long discussion and a to and fro from Delhi to Bangalore, and interactions with the high command, finally at last he is expanding his ministry. I hope my name is also there. More than that, the Chief Minister has the acknowledge with all gratitude, who all stood by him to become the chief minister. I hope my name is also there."
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar told NDTV, "There is a lot of internal issues going on within the BJP. We all know it. But as a Congressman I don't want to interfere with them. Let them come out with the list. Lot of things to discuss - we will share some information. "