Ending the suspense, the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka on Wednesday announced that the HD Kumaraswamy cabinet would be expanded on 22 December. The decision was taken by the coordination committee of the coalition that met under the chairmanship of former chief minister Siddaramaiah.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda were consulted before deciding the date, Siddaramiah told reporters here after the over two-hour-long meeting of the committee. Six members from the Congress and two from JD(S) would be inducted, he said adding it was also decided to appoint MLAs as heads of corporations and boards on the same day.
There has been growing clamour among the MLAs, especially those from the Congress, for expansion of the cabinet at the earliest, with a few openly expressing their discontent over the delay. This will be the second expansion of Kumaraswamy’s ministry, who currently heads the 26-member cabinet. After the first expansion in June, discontent among the Congress ministerial aspirants surfaced, giving birth pangs to the coalition ministry formed in a post-poll pact after the May assembly elections threw up a hung verdict. The cabinet was expected to be expanded in October itself but had been put off.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal and JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali were the others who attended the coordination committee meeting. Siddaramaiah said measures for the smooth functioning of the government and the speedy resolution of issues raised by MLAs concerning developmental work in their respective constituencies were also discussed at the meeting.
Echoing Siddaramaiah’s statement, JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali said the coalition government would last its full five-year terms. He also termed reports about trouble in the coalition in sections of media as BJP sponsored.