Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will expand his 26-member cabinet on December 22 with the induction of six Congress ministers and two of his own party the JD(S) following growing discontent over the protracted delay in conduct of the exercise.
Ending the continued suspense over when will the cabinet be expanded, the coordination committee of the two parties in the ruling coalition met Wednesday under former chief minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress, and settled the date.
The date was decided in consultation with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda, Siddaramaiah told journalists after the two-hour meeting of the panel. The committee also decided to appoint legislators of the coalition as chairpersons of various government boards and corporations the same day.
Clamour was growing among lawmakers of the ruling combine, expecially those of the Congress, for expanding the cabinet, with some openly expressing discontent over the delay. This will be the second expansion of Kumaraswamy’s cabinet.
The Congress and JD(S) came to power in May as part of a post-poll alliance after the state assembly elections threw up a fractured verdict. The first expansion took place in June. The second was expected in October but was put off.
Siddaramaiah said an expansion was planned on December 9 but had to be postponed in view of the state legislature session that begins the next day. So, the exercise will now be undertaken on December 22, a day after the session concludes.
The former chief minister, who is also the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), said the coordination committee decided to appoint a few MLAs from both the parties as parliamentary secretaries to ministers.
Under the agreement reached during the formation of the coalition in May, the chairmanship of 20 boards and corporations will go to the Congress and 10 to JD(S). Kumaraswamy, his deputy G Parameshwara, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal and JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali were among those who attended the coordination committee meeting.
Siddaramaiah dismissed as “media speculation” the talk of some disgruntled Congress lawmakers led by Satish Jarkiholi planning to join hands with the BJP. He asserted the coalition government will complete its full 5-year term.