Congress-JD(S) leaders held a meeting to discuss new names for cabinet expansion. Three leaders; two from JD(S) and one from Congress will be inducted to fill three vacant spots
Bengaluru: Ahead of the state cabinet expansion, five Congress leaders met Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy to discuss new names for the vacant posts.
Following a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress and JD(S) are not planning to reshuffle the cabinet, probably not wanting to disappoint the leaders in power already. However, the challenge is to satisfy the disgruntled leaders and keep the government safe.
To discuss the probable names for the three vacant posts, CLP leader Siddaramaiah, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy met at the state-run Kumara Krupa guest house.
The meeting was also attended by Congress' state unit in-charge KC Venugopal, home minister MB Patil and water resources minister DK Shivakumar.
Earlier, coordination committee chief Siddaramaiah on Tuesday had said that it would only be an expansion and an attempt to fill three vacant posts.
"No reshuffle, it is a kind of expansion. Three (posts) are vacant. There is plan to fill them," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysuru.
On reports of some ministers being asked to resign to make way for the disgruntled leaders, he said, "I'm not aware of it."
According to reports, few ministers may be asked to step down to make way for disgruntled legislators, with an aim to keep the government safe.
The Karnataka cabinet which met on Friday after the coalition's rout in the Lok Sabha polls, had discussed the issue, which may also come up at the Congress Legislature Party meeting on Wednesday and AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal's meeting with Congress ministers this evening (May 29).
Out of 34 ministers, Congress and JD(S) have 22 and 12 respectively according to the coalition agreement.
Currently, three posts are vacant, two from JD(S) and one from Congress.
Amid simmering discontent within the Congress, coalition leaders fear the BJP, spurred by the Lok Sabha poll outcome in which it bagged 25 of the 28 seats in the state, may poach some MLAs.
Rebel Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi's visit to senior BJP leader SM Krishna's residence in Bengaluru in the presence of party state chief BS Yeddyurappa on Sunday had fuelled the speculation.
Jarkiholi, who has been hobnobbing with the BJP for some time, had threatened to resign from the party along with some MLAs after the Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP had predicted the collapse of the coalition and increase in its tally in the assembly after the LS poll results, claiming that 20-odd Congress MLAs were unhappy and may take any decision anytime.
Coalition partners Congress and JD(S) managed to win one seat each in the Lok Sabha polls.
In an attempt to save his government, Kumaraswamy has swung into action and is trying to pacify some disgruntled Congress legislators personally.
The chief minister on Monday had met Jarkiholi's confidant and Athani MLA Mahesh Kumathalli and is said to have promised to look into their issues, including Jarkiholi's induction into the cabinet.
With PTI inputs
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Last Updated 29, May 2019, 8:10 PM