Coordination panel okays Cabinet expansion in September 3rd week
Bengaluru: The coalition coordination and monitoring Committee on Friday decided to expand the state Cabinet in the third week of September.
This comes a day after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and urged him to decide on the Cabinet expansion.
“Six legislators from the Congress and one from JD(S) will be inducted,” coordination committee chairperson Siddaramaiah told reporters. “Simultaneously, it has been decided to appoint chairpersons to 30 boards and corporations, of which 20 will be for the Congress and 10 for the JD(S).”
Several senior Congress leaders, who are ministerial aspirants, were disgruntled and have been mounting pressure on the party. “There are many ministerial aspirants,” Siddaramaiah said. “All of them can’t be made ministers at once. That’s why some MLAs will be given boards and corporations first. Later, party workers will be accommodated,” he added.
The coordination committee, which met for the third time, is learnt to have discussed issues pertaining to transfers of officials and continuation of schemes launched by the previous Congress regime – two areas in which the alliance partners have differed time and again. It was also pointed out that the Karnataka Debt Relief Ordinance should have been discussed in the coordination committee first. Siddaramaiah, however, said the promulgation of the ordinance was a Cabinet decision. “There ends the matter,” he said, when asked about it.
Siddaramaiah said it was also decided to finalise candidates to be fielded in place of G Parameshwara, K S Eshwarappa and V Somanna in the Legislative Council. “Also, there are three more nominations to be done in the Council. How many of these seats should go to the Congress and JD(S) is yet to be decided,” he said. The alliance partners have had a “friendly fight” in the 105 urban local body polls, Siddaramaiah said. “The Congress will come to power wherever it gets majority and so will the JD(S). Wherever there’s a fractured mandate, the two parties will form an alliance,” he said.
In the meeting, Kumaraswamy is said to have agreed to Siddaramaiah’s demand to continue Congress’ schemes. “I made it clear in the meeting that the government should continue supplying seven kg rice under the Anna Bhagya scheme,” he said.
Siddaramaiah clarified that his statement of wanting to become chief minister again was in reference to the next Assembly election five years later. Asked if that meant him contesting the election despite having announced that he would stay away from electoral politics, he said: “I have not decided yet.”
He played down Kumaraswamy’s claim that Revenue Minister R V Deshpande was also a chief ministerial candidate. “He must have said that Deshpande is senior enough to become CM. In the Congress, there are always too many aspirants for the post,” he said.
He also dismissed the speculation that some MLAs would resign after his Europe trip. “Journalism has become speculative,” he scoffed. “This government will survive for five years and deliver as per the Common Minimum Programme.”