Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Friday expanded his cabinet by inducting two MLAs into the ministry in an apparent move to give stability to his 13-month-old government. A R Shankar and H Nagesh were sworn in as cabinet-rank ministers by Governor Vajubhai Vala who administered them the oath of office and secrecy at a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.
The two MLAs were sworn in an apparent attempt to block them from crossing over to the BJP. The MLAs were inducted, one each from the JD(S) and Congress quota. Shankar has reportedly been asked to merge his outfit KPJP with the Congress Party immediately.
This is the second cabinet expansion since the two parties stitched up an alliance to form the government after a fractured mandate in the Legislative Assembly election held last year.
Shankar had served as minister in June 2018, during the initial days of the government. He was dropped months later in December for refusing to become an associate member of the Congress. Following this, he was seen in the BJP and is now back with the Congress.
When Shankar was moving towards the BJP, he had written to the Governor withdrawing support to the government. Since the BJP was unable to form the government, both Shankar and Nagesh once again supported the coalition.
Shankar had defeated former Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad of the Congress from the Ranebennur constituency.
Nagesh, meanwhile, is a former Congress member from Mulbagal constituency. He was a member of the Congress party and also an aspirant for the ticket from the seat. However, the Congress decided to give the ticket to MLA G Manjunath. He was, however, defeated in the recent polls.
After the massive defeat in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress-JD(S) coalition government was keen to expand the cabinet to fill three vacant posts. The expansion, earlier scheduled on June 12, was postponed owing to the three-day state mourning following the death of actor and writer Girish Karnad on Monday.