Bengaluru, June 10:
Expansion of the Karnataka Cabinet would take place on June 12, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had announced, in a much-expected move to quell growing dissent within the Congress-JD(S) coalition that threatens the stability of the government.
Kumaraswamy made the announcement in a tweet after meeting Governor Vajubhai Vala, which comes after weeks of consultations between the chief minister and Congress leaders amid coalition worries compounded by the Lok Sabha poll rout.
The cabinet expansion or rejig was in the offing after the humiliating defeat of the Congress and JD(S) in the Lok Sabha election, in which both the parties barely survived the Modi wave, getting one seat each.Of the total 34 ministerial positions in Karnataka, the Congress and the JD(S) have shared 22 and 12, respectively under an understanding between the two parties. Currently, three posts are vacant, two from JD(S) and one from the Congress.
Troubles mounted for the coalition early this week with the JD(S) state chief A H Vishwanath quitting his post flaying the coalition’s functioning and two senior Congress MLAs slamming the party’s state leaders for the debacle in the general elections.
The Lok Sabha rout gave enough ammunition to the disgruntled lot in the Congress as well as the JD(S) to publicly target their state leaders.
Vishwanath had criticised the coalition government’s performance and coordination committee chief Siddaramaiah for failing to draw a common minimum programme for smooth functioning of the government.
Senior Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy had also hit out at the party’s state leadership, saying “newbies and migrants”, who did not know anything about the Congress, were being given priority in the party and government.
He had warned that if the present situation continued, it would be difficult for seniors to continue in the party.
Reddy’s attack had come days after state Congress’ Muslim face Roshan Baig’s outburst, calling AICC general secretary K C Venugopal a “buffoon”, Kartanaka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao a “flop show” and Siddaramaiah “arrogant”.
Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi has been allegedly hobnobbing with the BJP for the past few months, amid reports that he might switch sides along with several other legislators.
There seems to be worry within the Congress about Cabinet expansion or reshuffle with a growing number of aspirants for ministerial berths and that the move might only complicate matters for the coalition.