Reflecting the mood ahead of the cabinet expansion on Thursday, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday put the ball in the BJP high command's court on the number of ministers to be inducted.
"It is only after the evening things will be clear when we get information from Delhi (BJP central leadership)," he told reporters in the district headquarters town of Kalaburagi.
He was replying to a query by reporters who wished to know whether 13 aspirants, including 10 who defected from Congress-JD(S), helped BJP bring down the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government and won the bypolls on the ruling party ticket in December, would be inducted into the cabinet.
The Chief Minister, however, asserted the swearing-in ceremony would take place on Thursday at 10:30 am at Raj Bhavan.
Briefing reporters on Sunday, Mr Yediyurappa had said "10 plus three" will take oath on February 6, apparently referring to the induction of only 10 out of 11, who defected to BJP from Congress-JD(S).
This statement created confusion among the defectors from the Congress and JD(S) who had quit their party and were disqualified and later 13 of them contested the by-elections on BJP tickets. The Chief Minister had earlier promised ministerial berths to all of them.
However, reflecting on the "internal pulls and pressures", he indicated that three others to be inducted on Thursday will be the "native BJP" leaders.
The eleventh legislator among the defectors is said to be Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli, while the three "native BJP leaders" could be Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali, Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti and CP Yogeshwar, who had lost to former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy from Channapatna.
The two defectors who unsuccessfully contested the by-election have been pushing for cabinet berth for them as a "mark of tribute for their sacrifice of leaving their former party, resigning from the Assembly and then getting disqualified by the Speaker only to install the BJP government."
Mr Kumathalli had turned emotional following speculations he will not secure a cabinet berth. "We have trusted him (Mr Yediyurappa). We are ready to do whatever work he will assign. We will firmly remain with the BJP but I am hurt," Mr Kumathalli had said on Sunday.