Pressure mounts on BJP to expand K’taka cabinet, Jarkiholi & Eshwarappa skip Assembly session

The pressure is mounting on the ruling BJP in Karnataka to expand the cabinet ahead of the Assembly elections which is less than four months away.

Senior leaders, Ramesh Jarkiholi and K.S. Eshwarappa, have stayed away from the ongoing 10-day winter session being held in Belagavi Suvarna Vidhana Soudha. The session began on December 19.

The two held a meeting in Bengaluru on Tuesday, after which Eshwarappa in a press conference said, “I had tendered resignation from the minister’s post when there was an allegation. The party assured me that I would get the cabinet berth after getting a clean chit. Now, charges against me have been dropped. Let the party keep its word.”

“Former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has also got the clean chit. In this background CM Bommai should include myself and Jarkiholi to the state cabinet sooner,” Eshwarappa stated.

“I am raising my voice for a cabinet berth as even after four months, I haven’t got a cabinet post. Former CM B.S. Yediyurappa and state president Nalin Kumar Kateel have also given assurances in this regard. I have not contacted the national leaders. I have registered my silent protest. I have also written a letter to the Speaker in this regard. I will decide on participating in the session by Tuesday night,” he said.

“It is through the people of Karnataka that it has achieved power in the state and won 25 MP seats. We have been fighting for 30 to 40 years. We started from a small party office in Sheshadripuram in Bengaluru,” Eshwarappa said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he was in touch with the ‘disgruntled’ BJP MLAs — Ramesh Jarkiholi and Eshwarappa.

CM Bommai told reporters in Suvarna Vidhana Soudha that non-participation of both Jarkiholi and Eshwarappa was not a boycott. They are right in their thinking that they must return to the Council of Ministers once they were cleared of all the charges, he said.

“Their issue had been discussed during his recent visit to Delhi and they have also had a positive outlook. But some things cannot be told in public,” CM Bommai stated.

Eshwarappa was accused in the suicide case of contractor Santhosh Patil, and Ramesh Jarkiholi was accused in sex CD scam.

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