Home >Politics >Policy >Karnataka cabinet expansion by end of next week, says Kumaraswamy

Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday said that all seven vacant positions in the 34-member cabinet will be filled by the end of next week in a move aimed at ending the constant infighting among senior Congress leaders that has threatened to destabilize the coalition government since its formation more than four months ago.

Kumaraswamy’s announcement about filling up the cabinet positions, which is already delayed, comes in the wake of his predecessor, Siddaramaiah, saying that the cabinet expansion and naming of heads of boards and corporations will be taken up in the third week of September.

Of the seven vacant positions, six are available with the Congress while one is with the Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S), according to the alliance agreement that came about after the state’s electorate delivered a fractured mandate with no party winning the required numbers to rule on its own. According to the post-poll agreement, the Congress would get 22 portfolios and the JD(S) would get 12, including that of the chief minister.

The Congress won 78 seats in the elections to the 224-seat assembly, while the JD(S)-Bahujan Samaj Party won 38 and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 104 seats.

Much of the infighting has been witnessed in the Congress ranks that, despite being the bigger partner, has had to compromise on several ministries including that of the chief just to keep the BJP out of power in Karnataka.

The process to select cabinet members has begun and would be completed by 10 or 12 October, Kumaraswamy said at a private event in Bengaluru.

Some members of the party believe that the filling up of vacant berths could end some of the dissent, while others say that the exercise will also leave no room for placating leaders who have been left out, adding to the obstacles of the coalition government that aims to complete five years in office. This would add to the woes of the coalition, which is already battling discontent within party ranks as several senior leaders such as M.B. Patil, H.K. Patil, Ramalinga Reddy, Satish Jarakiholi and Roshan Baig were kept out of the cabinet to make room for some first time legislators.

Siddaramaiah, however, feels that the coalition will not be destabilized. “I have been made the leader of coordination committee to be the troubleshooter for the coalition govt. I ll nt allow anyone to destabilize the govt. Our govt will complete full 5 yr term. Ppl have very good opinion & farm loan waiver is being appreciated by all," he said on microblogging site, Twitter on Sunday.

His statement comes at a time that many in the coalition believed he was the leader of the dissenting members.

The last round was led by the powerful Jarkiholi brothers of Belagavi who objected to the interference of Vokkaliga strongman D.K.Shivakumar and Laxmi Hebbalkar in the northern district which may result in the latter losing her post as the president of the Women’s wing of the party.

The political drama, that has been unfolding since the formation of this government, has seen allegations that the BJP has been trying to poach some of the Congress leaders.

Kumaraswamy, whose government aims to create 10 million new jobs in the state over the five years, on Monday also questioned the BJP at the Centre over the alleged Rafale scam in which a private company was given a contract instead of Bengaluru-headquartered Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

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