Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Thursday met Congress president Rahul Gandhi on a day his government completed 100 days in office and at a time when rumblings in the Congress-JD(S) coalition have come out in the open. Sources said it was decided that the cabinet would be expanded and heads of boards and corporations would be appointed in the next two weeks which could help address the brewing discontent.
While both the Congress and the JD(S) termed the meeting as a “courtesy call”, it came against the backdrop of Kumaraswamy’s predecessor Siddaramaiah’s statement that he would surely become the Chief Minister. Only days ago, Congress leader and Agriculture Minister N H Shivashankara Reddy, considered a Siddaramaiah camp follower, said that Kumaraswamy must be replaced by Siddaramaiah.
Kumaraswamy told reporters after the meeting that a decision on cabinet expansion of the coalition government and appointment of chairmen of various boards and corporations would be taken soon. “In the meeting, I have requested Congress President to take an early decision on expansion of the cabinet and appointment of chairmen of various corporation and boards,” he said.
The chief minister said the JD(S)-Congress coalition government is secure under the leadership of senior Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah. Senior JD(S) leader Danish Ali told The Indian Express that the Chief Minister met Gandhi to thank him for the Congress’s continued support. Kumaraswamy also apprised Gandhi about the various initiatives taken by the coalition government.
The Chief Minister denied having discussed the recent statements of Siddharamaiah during the meeting. “He (Siddaramaiah) is a leader. If he expresses desire to become CM, what’s wrong in that…. The coalition government is secure under the leadership of Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah is necessary for the coalition government to run safety,” Kumaraswamy said. A meeting of the Congress-JD(S) Coordination Committee is to be held Friday.
The Chief Minister pointed out that Siddaramaiah has already given a clarification that he would become the chief minister if people desire in the next election. The coalition government is “secure” and there are no differences between the ruling allies, he said and slammed the BJP for “creating confusion” among people by constantly questioning the stability of his government.