While the much awaited Karnataka cabinet expansion was slated to take place on December 22, leaders in the Congress party say that it is likely to be pushed for a later date. Congress insiders say that Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will not be attending the Congress legislative party meeting slated to be held on December 22 in Belagavi.
This comes just days after Congress Legislative Party chief and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the date of the expansion.
Several senior Congress leaders that TNM spoke to said that many legislators in the JD(S) would not agree to the expansion on December 22 due to superstitious beliefs.
â€śCurrently shunya maasa (a month in the hindu lunar calendar, which is considered inauspicious) is prevailing. Most of the legislators in the JD(S) and a few in the Congress are against expanding the cabinet now. They feel it will bring bad luck and lead to the collapse of the coalition,â€ť a senior Congress leader told TNM.
According to Hindu mythology, every year, roughly from December 15 to the day before Shankranti, shunya maasa is observed.
While superstition may push the date of any announcement, there is hectic lobbying from within congress and JD(S) to stop any expansion. A top Congress leader told TNM that Kumaraswamy may fill the six vacancies in the cabinet. He is also likely to change two ministers and induct two others in their place.
Sources also said that a few Congress leaders in the party were apprehensive of expanding the cabinet ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
â€śThere is going to be a lot of lobbying and competition. The party leaders are wary because those who feel neglected may cause more damage to the party during the general election. I have a feeling that they will push it to January 15, later they will say after April,â€ť another Congress leader told TNM.
â€śThe expansion is likely not going to happen. Most of the MLAs know that. The Congress MLAs are having a lot of trouble regarding allocation of funds for their constituencies. There is a lot of problems being created because of the transfer of bureaucrats. Only constituencies where JD(S) MLAs have been elected are getting grants quickly. This will be the first thing that will be discussed,â€ť a Congress leader said.
On December 6, Siddaramaiah had told the media that the cabinet expansion will take place on December 22 after the CLP meeting. â€śWe have arrived at a decision to expand the cabinet on December 22, after the state legislature's winter session from December 10 at Belagavi,â€ť Siddaramaiah had said.
The leaders will also decide who will be named as the chairpersons of 30 state-run boards and corporations.