State cabinet expansion likely by this evening amidst rebellion

Prime News, Karnataka, National, Bengaluru/New Delhi, December 22:- The cabinet expansion of the state coalition government is likely to happen Saturday evening with six Congress legislators joining, said party’s state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao on Friday night.

“The Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress cabinet will be expanded with the induction of six more legislators from our party to fill the vacancies in the 34-member ministry,” Rao told reporters in New Delhi.

Although there is no communique from Raj Bhavan yet on the swearing-in ceremony time, a party source said that Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala said he would be free from 5:30 pm on Saturday for the swearing-in ceremony of the six legislators as ministers.

“The Governor’s office said Vala will be free at 5.30 pm to administer the oath of office to the party’s legislators as cabinet ministers,” said the party official.

There are eight vacancies in the cabinet, including two of JD(S) from its quota of 12, including Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, and six from the quota of 22 of the Congress, including Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara.

Among the probable lawmakers from the Congress tipped for the cabinet posts are M T B Nagaraj, C S Shivali, Sathish Jharkiholi, R B Thimmapur, Rahim Khan and Tanveer Sait.

The party is likely to ask its two ministers Ramesh Jharkiholi, holding municipal administration portfolio and R. Shankar (Forests) to resign to induct at least two of the four senior lawmakers – H K Patil, M B Patil, Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig.

“Sathish will replace his elder brother Ramesh in the reshuffle and two of the four seniors are likely to join the cabinet,” said the official.

Besides Rao and Parameshwara, Congress Legislative Party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah discussed the cabinet expansion with party president Rahul Gandhi at his residence in New Delhi.

“The cabinet expansion-cum-reshuffle is being done keeping in view the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the caste combination with regional representation from across the state,” added the official.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy told reporters at Belagavi that his party supremo H D Deve Gowda would decide names of the two legislators to fill its vacancies in the cabinet. “We have no problem in selecting our members for the two remaining cabinet posts,” said Kumaraswamy.

It may sound simple but given the complications that are likely to come with the cabinet expansion, it will be a big headache for the state Congress to silence the likes of Ramesh Jarkiholi who may quit the party. Even Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president B S Yeddyurappa said in Hubballi that it would be interesting to see what would happen in the aftermath of expansion. “We have our options open,” he quipped. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)


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