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Kumaraswamy Expands Karnataka Cabinet, Inducts 2 Ministers in Bid to Save Congress-JD(S) Govt

R Shankar and H Nagesh were inducted from the JD(S) and Congress' share in the ministry, in an attempt to block chances of their switching over to the BJP.

News18.com

Updated:June 14, 2019, 2:32 PM IST
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Kumaraswamy Expands Karnataka Cabinet, Inducts 2 Ministers in Bid to Save Congress-JD(S) Govt
File photo of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. (Twitter)

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday expanded his cabinet by inducting two Independent MLAs into the ministry in an apparent move to give stability to his 13-month-old wobbly government.

In the much-awaited expansion, R Shankar and H Nagesh were sworn in as cabinet-rank ministers by Governor Vajubhai Vala who administered them the oath of office and secrecy at a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.

Of the total of 34 ministerial positions in Karnataka, Congress and JD(S) have share of 22 and 12 respectively, according to the coalition arrangement. Shankar and Nagesh have been chosen to fill two of the three vacant seats.

Shankar had served as a minister during the initial days of the Kumaraswamy government but was dropped from the cabinet during the rejig in December last year. He and Nagesh had sided with the BJP and written to the governor withdrawing support to the government.

As the BJP failed in its alleged attempts to topple the coalition government, the two lawmakers made a u-turn and moved closer to the coalition.

The two were inducted from the JD(S) and Congress' share in the ministry, in an attempt to block chances of their switching over to the BJP whom the ruling coalition has accused of trying to dislodge the Kumaraswamy government.

There are voices in the coalition parties, especially Congress, against the induction of independents into the cabinet, by raising questions about their loyalty, as also about those loyal to the party not being considered.

Senior Congress leader and former assembly Speaker K B Koliwad, who was defeated by Shankar in Ranebennur, expressed reservations about his induction, calling him"opportunist".

According to reports, Shankar is likely to join Congress on becoming Minister.

The expansion, originally scheduled for June 12, was rescheduled to Friday as a three-day state mourning was in place due to the death of Jnanpith awardee writer Girish Karnad on Monday.

Routed in the Lok Sabha polls and growing disgruntlement within, the coalition leaders, after a series of negotiations had decided to go in for cabinet expansion by filling in three vacant posts.

PTI quoted sources have said that a cabinet rejig is also on the cards after some time, during which a few ministers will be asked to step down to make way for others, mainly disgruntled legislators.

However, an increasing number of aspirants in the Congress are worrying the coalition leaders, as it may once again lead to disgruntlement and cause disturbance for the smooth functioning of the alliance government.

The coalition leaders fear an onslaught by the BJP to destabilise the government, after the saffron party won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, leaving Congress and JD(S)to share one seat each.

A BJP supported independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh had won in Mandya.

(With PTI inputs)

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