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Congress chief gives nod for K'taka cabinet expansion

Congress chief gives nod for Ktaka cabinet expansion

New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday gave the go ahead for induction of six new faces and replacement of two ministers in the JD(S)-led coalition government in Karnataka, party sources said.

MTB Nagaraj, Raheem Khan, E Tukaram and P T Parameshwara Naik are among the six leaders whose names are understood to have been finalised after discussions with state leaders in a meeting held here, they added.

Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, Pradesh Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao, Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, and Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal were present in the meeting.

Besides inducting six new faces, the sources said the Congress chief is understood to have approved dropping two ministers -- Municipal Administration Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and Forest Minister R Shankar -- from the cabinet.

Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has been allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders, will be replaced by his brother Satish Jarkiholi, whereas Shankar by C S Shivalli from Kuruba community, the sources said.

In the meeting, the Congress chief has given green signal for appointing Congress leaders V Muniappa as political secretary and Ajay Singh as state representative in the national capital.

The sources said the swearing-in ceremony of new members will take place depending on the availability of state Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala.

According to the pact reached between the two partners at the time of formation of the coalition government in May, there are at present six vacant ministerial positions left for the Congress and two for the JD(S).

The cabinet expansion is expected to pacify members of the Congress camp who have become restless following its repeated postponement.

Team MP

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