Karnataka cabinet set to expand today as HD Kumaraswamy seeks time from guv; six Congress ministers to be inducted in govt

With an eye on pacifying edgy MLAs with JD(S), Congress government, the Karnataka cabinet is all set to induct new ministers on Saturday.

Wheels for the much-expected cabinet expansion were finally set rolling after Congress president Rahul Gandhi gave the go-ahead for the induction of six new faces and the replacement of two ministers in the JD(S)-led coalition government in Karnataka, according to a PTI report. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is expected to meet Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala at 11 am to inform him of the government's decision and schedule a swearing-in ceremony for the to-be ministers.

MTB Nagaraj, Raheem Khan, E Tukaram and PT Parameshwara Naik are among the six leaders whose names are understood to have been finalised after discussions with state leaders in a meeting.

 Karnataka cabinet set to expand today as HD Kumaraswamy seeks time from guv; six Congress ministers to be inducted in govt

File image of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. PTI

Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, Pradesh Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao, Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, and Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal were present in the meeting. Besides inducting six new faces, the sources said the Congress chief is understood to have approved dropping two ministers — Municipal Administration minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and Forest minister R Shankar — from the cabinet.

Jarkiholi, who has been allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders, will be replaced by his brother Satish Jarkiholi, whereas Shankar's portfolio will be handed over to CS Shivalli from Kuruba community. Shankar, an Independent MLA from Ranebennur too had in the past interacted with the BJP ahead of the Karnataka government formation.

In the meeting, the Rahul gave the green signal for appointing Congress leaders V Muniappa as political secretary and Ajay Singh as state representative in the national capital.

Meanwhile, the cabinet expansion bore clear footprints of Siddaramiah's influence. The Congress leader pressed for induction of more ministers from constituencies in Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka, besides batting for the inclusion of two Kuruba, Deccan Chronicle reported.

The sources said the swearing-in ceremony of new members will take place depending on the availability of the governor.

According to the pact reached between the two partners at the time of formation of the coalition government in May, there are at present six vacant ministerial positions left for the Congress and two for the JD(S).  The cabinet expansion is expected to pacify members of the Congress camp who have become restless following its repeated postponement.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 22, 2018 10:23:41 IST