Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Saturday said cabinet expansion would take place soon after the November 3 assembly bypoll and that the BJP candidate in RR Nagar, Munirathna, would be made a minister “soon after he wins”.
“It (expansion) has been put on hold for quite some time due to various reasons. I will go to Delhi to discuss it with party leaders. It will take place soon after the bypoll results are announced,” he told reporters ahead of a road show in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
Asked about his announcement at the road show that Munirathna would be made minister, he said “I am 100 per cent going to make him minister after he wins the bypoll.”
Congress state chief DK Shivakumar flayed the announcement on Munirathna, saying it it was a violation of the model code of conduct.
“Let him be made chief minister…. but now saying that he (Munirathna) will be made minister itself is a poll code violation,” Mr Shivakumar told reporters.
Addressing the road show, Mr Yediyurappa asked voters to elect Munirathna by at least a 50,000 vote margin, “paving the way for him to be made minister soon after he wins.”
He lauded the steps taken by Munirathna to help people of his constituency during the coronavirus induced lockdown and urged them to help him win by at least a 50,000 margin, “paving the way for making him a minister.”
The Chief Minister said Rs 900 crore worth work has already been sanctioned in the constituency.
Mr Yediyurappa, seeking to silence his critics within and outside BJP, reiterated that he would continue as Chief Minister for the rest of the term and run the party and government.
On October 21, senior BJP legislator Basanagouda Patil Yatnal had said that Mr Yediyurappa would not remain Chief Minister for long and the high command had decided that his successor would be from the north Karnataka region.
While BJP leaders downplayed Yatnal”s statement, saying there was no truth in it, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told a private news channel recently that the Chief Minister will not continue after the Bihar election.
Basavaraj Horatti of JD(S) too had claimed a week ago that Yatnal has the backing of the BJP high command as he has not been removed from the party yet.
The RR Nagar bypoll has become a prestigious battle with all three political parties — BJP, Congress and JD(S) fighting it out intensely.
The election was warranted as Munirathna, a former Congress MLA, resigned from the assembly last year and joined the BJP.
The Congress has fielded former IAS officer late DK Ravi’s wife and senior leader Hanumantharayappa’s daughter H Kusuma, while the JD(S) has fielded V Krishnamurthy.
The by elections at RR Nagar in the city and Sira in Tumakuru district will be held on November 3.
Counting of votes is on November 10.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)