HDK cabinet expansion put off to Friday

Bengaluru, June 11:- The state government’s cabinet expansion which was set to take place on Wednesday has now been postponed to Friday following the demise of noted playwright and actor Girish Karnad. He passed away at his residence in Bengaluru on Monday. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced a holiday for schools, colleges and government offices in the state on Monday and a three-day mourning period.

Since the cabinet expansion was scheduled to be held in the three-day mourning period, it has been postponed by two days. Politicians and authors paid their tributes to Girish Karnad on Monday after the news of his death emerged. Among those paying tribute were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind along with several prominent politicians from Karnataka cutting across political parties and ideologies.

After several rounds of consultation, the Congress had decided to induct three new ministers into the cabinet on June 12. In the 34-member cabinet, three positions are currently vacant, two of which belong to the Janata Dal (Secular) quota and one to the Congress quota. The two independent legislators – R Shankar (Renebennur) and H Nagesh (Mulbagal) – are reportedly being considered for induction into the cabinet.

The cabinet expansion comes at a time when the Congress-JD(S) coalition in the state has been riddled with rebelling legislators, using defection as a bargaining chip to procure ministerial berths. Several veteran leaders and party loyalists too had expressed their displeasure of being sidelined.

MLAs had called for a cabinet reshuffle, however former chief minister Siddaramaiah had put his foot down stating that a reshuffle would only kick up more rebellion. Instead, the party had decided to go ahead with expanding the cabinet.

Siddaramaiah had also suggested that senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy was in line for a position in the cabinet. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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