Siddaramaiah gets Sonia’s nod, reshuffle in a day or two

Siddaramaiah gets Sonia’s nod, reshuffle in a day or two

New Delhi (PTI): Karnataka Cabinet is all set to be revamped in a day or two with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today saying he has got the green signal from the Congress High Command to drop some ministers and induct fresh faces.

“We discussed all names to be dropped and inducted with AICC President and Vice President Sonia and Rahulji. We have convinced them. High Command has authorised me to go ahead with the reshuffle,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here after the second round of consultations in as many days with the Congress Chief.

He said “the list will be prepared in a day or two and will be submitted to the Governor”.

Amid pulls and pressures for ministerial berths, the discussion held yesterday in connection with the much talked-about reshuffle had remained inconclusive.

Before the meeting, Siddaramaiah discussed the matter with Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

Sources said that the chief minister has proposed dropping of at least 10-14 ministers from the Cabinet and inducting young legislators and senior Congress leaders in order to balance caste and regional factors.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara and Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh were present in the meeting. Gulam Nabi Azad, who was in charge of Congress affairs in Karnataka in 2014, joined the deliberations later.

The exercise is being undertaken to tone up the government after Congress’ debacle in recent Assembly polls in four states, especially Assam.

Karnataka is the only major state where the Congress is in power after being recently ousted in Kerala and Assam.

“By tomorrow or the day after, I will prepare a list and submit it to the Governor, after which they will take oath,” the chief minister said.

Siddaramaiah, however, declined to comment on names and number of Ministers who would be dropped.

With 34 ministers, the Karnataka ministry is up to its full strength.

Indicating ministry reshuffle before the Assembly session next month, Siddaramaiah on Wednesday had sought cooperation from his council of Ministers.

Signalling that some ministers would have to take up party responsibility, he had said that the cabinet reshuffle would be done keeping the next Assembly elections in mind.

The talk about the ministry reshuffle had been doing the rounds for long but various reasons like drought and elections to local bodies, Council and Rajya Sabha have been cited for its deferment.

Siddaramaiah had earlier said that reshuffle would involve “dropping a few and inducting a few”, and yardstick for it is giving opportunity for new people.

Several “like-minded” Congress MLAs have held meetings and demanded reshuffle.

They had also sought dropping of “non-performing” ministers from the cabinet.

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