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Karnataka Congress Leaders to Approach Rahul Gandhi Ahead of Cabinet Expansion in State

The Congress presently has six ministerial berths to fill and the JDS two.

Revathi Rajeevan | CNN-News18

Updated:December 18, 2018, 6:31 PM IST
Karnataka Congress Leaders to Approach Rahul Gandhi Ahead of Cabinet Expansion in State
File photo of Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy.

Bengaluru: Karnataka cabinet, which is set to see an expansion, may even go through a reshuffle, Congress leaders hinted on Tuesday. The development comes following the Congress Legislature Party meeting held in Belagavi.

“The cabinet could be expanded and reshuffled. Both are possible. We will be meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi and taking decisions regarding this. As announced, the expansion will take place on 22nd," said Dinesh Gundu Rao, president, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.

Admitting that “injustice” was meted out to the districts in the North, Rao said: “I agree that there is an imbalance, but we will ensure that North Karnataka is given preference in the upcoming cabinet expansion as well.”

MLAs from the northern districts have been miffed with the current government as out of the 41 MLAs representing the North, only five were accommodated in the cabinet whereas of the 36 MLAs belonging to the southern district, 11 were given a plum post.

The cabinet is scheduled to be expanded on December 22. The possibility of a reshuffle comes amidst the unhappiness expressed by various senior leaders in the party who were denied berths during the cabinet formation.

Leaders, including former ministers, who weren't given berths during the first round of expansion gave the meeting a miss. They were Ramalinga Reddy, MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Roshan Baig and SR Patil, most of whom have openly expressed their disappointment in the past for being denied cabinet positions.

While Dinesh Gundu Rao and Ramesh Jarkiholi have said that the latter missed the meeting due to health issues, minister Ramesh Jarkiholi also said that he would not attend the dinner party being hosted by minister DK Shivakumar for the Congress-JDS leaders.

Among the leaders who were absent for the meeting were also legislators from north Karnataka who have alleged that the region has been neglected by the party and the government.

While aspirants like Satish Jarkiholi and Pratap Gowda Patil said they were confident of cabinet expansion taking place as per the schedule, MLA MTB Nagaraju said that there would be another meeting to discuss the demands of the MLAs and ministerial berth aspirants.

The second round of cabinet expansion has been postponed multiple times since the first round of expansion in June citing various reasons, including local body elections, bypolls and inauspicious times, leaving the aspirants doubtful about the scheduled expansion on December 22.

The Congress presently has six ministerial berths to fill and the JDS two.

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