Karnataka cabinet expansion will happen this month: Dinesh Gundu Rao

10:55 AM, Thursday, November 15th, 2018

dinesh-raoBengaluru: The much-awaited expansion of the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition cabinet in Karnataka will take place within this month, state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said on Wednesday.

Pointing out that JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda was out of town, Mr Rao said, once he was back, the issue would be discussed with him.

“It will be done this month itself,” he told reporters in Bengaluru.

Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal has already said it will happen, he pointed out.

The cabinet expansion and appointment of MLAs as heads of boards and corporations that was to take place in October was put on the backburner by the Congress-JD(S) coalition, as the schedule for November 3 bypolls to two assembly and three parliamentary seats in the state was announced.

Several MLAs, especially those from the Congress, who are aspirants for minister’s post have been demanding that the expansion is taken up at the earliest.

Moreover, according to sources close to the legislators, many MLAs feel that this is the right time for cabinet expansion, with theCongress-JD(S)coalition winning two of the three Lok Sabha seats and both the assembly constituencies.

This would be the second expansion of the cabinet since the coalition came to power in May in a post-poll tie-up between Congress and JD(S).

Under the power-sharing arrangement reached by the two parties, Congress will have 22 ministers and the JD(S) 12.

In the earlier exercise on June 6, HD Kumaraswamy had inducted 25 ministers, taking the ministry’s strength to 27.

However, the lone BSP Minister in the coalition cabinet N Mahesh, who was inducted from JD(S) side, had quit his post in October citing personal reasons, but said he would continue to support the ruling coalition.

There are now six vacant ministerial positions left for the Congress, and two for the JD(S).

The decision to expand the cabinet has come amid speculation that some disgruntled Congress MLAs were still being wooed by the BJP, besides reported factionalism within the party.

With growing number of aspirants and limited ministerial berths in hand, Congress was preparing a list of MLAs to be appointed as heads to boards and corporations, in an effort to prevent any kind of resentment, party source said

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