Karnataka cabinet expansion rescheduled owing to Karnad’s death

Bengaluru: “Following the death of Jnanpith awardee, writer and theatre personality Girish Karnad, the swearing-in of new ministers scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 has been rescheduled to Friday, June 14 at 1 PM,” said a statement issued by the Karnataka Chief Minister’s office.

The expansion was aimed at saving the JDS-Congress coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy. Due to renowned playwright and actor Girish Karnad’s death, the State was in a three-day mourning. Because of this official programmes cannot be organized and hence the expansion has been postponed to 14 June, Friday.

The coalition partners performed poorly in the recently held Lok Sabha polls. The BJP won 25 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, leaving Congress and JD(S) with one seat each. Also there is growing disgruntlement within the party and a decision was taken to expand the cabinet to three vacant posts – two from JD(S) and one from Congress.

Media reports suggest that a cabinet rejig is possible and some ministers may be asked to step down to step down to make way for others.

Independent MLA Nagesh and KPJP MLA R Shankar may be inducted into the cabinet, says media reports. This decision is also to ensure that they don’t side with the BJP.

A disgruntled Congress leader or JD(S) MLC B M Farooq is being considered for third vacant post. Increased number of aspirants in the Congress is worrying the coalition leaders as it may once again lead to disgruntlement and cause disturbance for the smooth functioning of the alliance government.

According to a media reports, Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal is likely to be in the city on Tuesday and hold meetings with state unit leaders and disgruntled legislators. The coalition leaders fear onslaught by the BJP to destabilise the government, after the saffron party.

NT Bureau