HDK to expand cabinet today
Bengaluru: The much awaited expansion of the H D Kumaraswamy-led cabinet in Karnataka, aimed at saving the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, will take place on Friday afternoon, with the induction of two new Ministers expected, official sources said.
Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to new members joining the State Council of Ministers at 1.00 PM at the Raj Bhavan. Of the total of 34 ministerial positions in Karnataka, Congress and JD(S) have shared 22 and 12 respectively, according to the coalition arrangement.
Currently, three posts are vacant, two from the JD(S) and one from Congress.
"Only two new Ministers will be inducted into the cabinet tomorrow. One post will be kept vacant,"official sources said. Independent MLA Nagesh and the lone KPJP MLA R Shankar, who are supporting the coalition, would be sworn-in on Friday, from JD(S) and Congress' share respectively, to ensure that they don't side with the BJP, sources added.
Shankar had served as Minister during the initial days of the Kumaraswamy government. He was dropped from the cabinet during the rejig in December last year, following which he, along with Nagesh, sided with the BJP and had written to the Governor, withdrawing support to the government.
As the BJP failed in its alleged attempts to topple the coalition and form the government, the two lawmakers subsequently moved closer to the coalition. There are voices in the coalition parties, especially Congress, against the induction of independents into the cabinet, by raising questions about their loyalty, as also about those loyal to the party not being considered. Senior Congress leader and former assembly Speaker K B Koliwad, who was defeated by Shankar in Ranebennur, expressed reservations about his induction, calling him "opportunist".
According to reports, Shankar is likely to join Congress on becoming a Minister.
Though JD(S) state President and MLA A H Vishwanath and MLC B M Farooq's name were doing the rounds for the Minister's post, the regional party's leadership is said to have decided to keep the post vacant for now.