HDK ministry expansion before legislature winter session

Dinesh Gundu Rao

Bengaluru: The H D Kumarawamy-led JDS-Congress ministry in Karnataka would be expanded before the winter session of the state legislature commencing on 10 December, state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the Congress and the JDS would decide on their respective nominees to the six-month old cabinet, whose expansion was expected last month itself.

“I had said cabinet expansion will be done before the assembly session. Session begins on 10th (December), before that cabinet expansion will happen we will do it,” Rao said.

His statement came amid speculation that the expansion was likely to be delayed further. Recent comments by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and former chief minister Siddaramaiah that they were waiting for appointment to meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is busy with elections in five states, to discuss about the expansion had triggered the speculation.

There is growing clamour from legislators, especially of Congress, for the expansion at the earliest. According to the pact reached between the two partners at the time of formation of the coalition government in May, there are now six vacant ministerial positions left for the Congress and two for the JD(S).

This will be the second expansion of Kumaraswamy’s ministry, who currently heads the 26-member cabinet. Meanwhile, several Congress leaders from Hassan district, reportedly upset over the style of functioning of Kumaraswamy’s brother and District in-charge Minister H D Revanna, Thursday met senior leaders, including KPCC chief Rao and Siddaramaiah here, requesting them to “save” the party in the district.

“We have been fighting against JD(S) and Revanna (Minister) over years, we remained silent (on joining hands) obeying high command’s orders… now we are being targeted. Their intention is to suppress Congress for their survival in Hassan,” Congress leader Putte Gowda told reporters.

According to sources, the leaders have petitioned the Congress leadership against Revanna. However, Rao said, they had come to explain about the party and political situation in the district and not to complain against any one.

“They had come with issues relating to party workers and seeking more representation for them in any government related nominations,” he added. Revanna, on his part, said, “let Siddaramaiah or Parameshwara speak to me if there are such issues. I don’t do hate politics….there is no such thing.”

Hassan, the home town of H D Deve Gowda and his sons Kumaraswamy and Revanna, is a JD(S) strong hold, and Congress had been fighting the party bitterly over the years. Both parties joined hands to form government in the state after the 12 May assembly polls threw up a hung verdict.