Sources say that due to extreme pressure from groups in North Karnataka and the Congress leaders, the Chief Minister is likely to expand the cabinet before Independence Day.

HDK mulls cabinet expansion to include leaders from North Karnataka
news Politics Tuesday, August 07, 2018 - 13:44

For nearly two weeks after HD Kumaraswamy took oath as the Chief Minister, he did not have a functioning cabinet. When the cabinet expansion was announced on June 6, it was unsurprising that the CM took 11 ministries under his wing.

However, over two months into the JD(S)-Congress regime, there are still seven ministerial posts yet to be filled – six for Congress and one for JD(S).

Sources say that due to extreme pressure from groups in North Karnataka and the Congress leaders, the Chief Minister is likely to expand the cabinet before Independence Day.

“The Congress party workers and leaders from North Karnataka have been pressuring the CM to expand the cabinet, especially, after the protests in the north. Several Congress veterans, who were not in Deputy CM Dr Parameshwara’s camp, were sidelined. So, there is discontent in the party,” Congress insiders say.

Sources in the Congress also revealed that veteran Congressman and former Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy as well as senior Congress leader Roshan Baig are unhappy about being benched.

Following the first round of expansion of the Cabinet on June 6, 26 ministers, including 15 from the Congress and 11 from the JD(S) were inducted; this, apart from the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister posts in the cabinet.

However, the national-level meeting held in mid-July to discuss the ministerial berths is said to have settled on a caste combination of Kuruba, Dalit, Adivasi, Minority and Lingayat.

“JD(S) is probably going to give the berth to a member of the minority community or a Dalit. However, it was decided that two Lingayat candidates will be given minister’s posts in order to appease the community in the northern districts. One each for Kuruba, Dalit, Adivasi and Minority communities,” the source added.

The coalition is mulling over giving Kustagi MLA Amaregouda Bayyapur a cabinet berth. Also in the race is Shahpur MLA Sharanabasappa Darshanapur.

According to sources, the Congress party is also trying to appease one of its richest leaders MTB Nagaraj and offer him a berth under the Kuruba quota; but the party is looking at Kuruba leaders from Bagalakote as well.

With this expansion, the number of ministers in Kumaraswamy’s cabinet will go up to 34.

“The cabinet expansion was supposed to happen after the Urban Local Body elections. However, in order to quell the internal rebellions in both the parties and appease party workers, the cabinet expansion is likely to happen before August 15. This is to ensure that Congress and JD(S) workers and candidates for the local body elections do not clash and cause a threat to the coalition,” the source added.

Also, the CM is also slated to appoint new chiefs of various state-run boards and corporations at the same time in order to ensure that senior leaders do not feel sidelined.

Of the 30 appointments for various boards and corporations, the parties have agreed to a 1:2 ratio, where JD(S) candidates will be given 10 seats and Congress will get 20.

 

 

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