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Naysayers Continue to Sulk after Kumaraswamy's K'taka Cabinet Expansion Excludes Cong-JD(S) MLAs

While N Nagesh is an Independent MLA, R Shankar had defeated former speaker KB Koliwad and was the lone MLA of the Karnataka Pragnavantha Janata Party. The outfit had merged with the Congress hours before Koliwad took oath as minister.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:June 14, 2019, 10:39 PM IST
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Naysayers Continue to Sulk after Kumaraswamy's K'taka Cabinet Expansion Excludes Cong-JD(S) MLAs
Chief Minister HD KUmaraswamy and Governor Vajubhai Vala with the new ministers at the swearing-in ceremony on Friday.
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Bengaluru: In a bid to bring stability to the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday expanded his ministry by inducting two MLAs, none of whom belong to the alliance parties.

While N Nagesh is an Indepenent MLA, R Shankar had defeated former speaker KB Koliwad and was the lone MLA of the Karnataka Pragnavantha Janata Party. The outfit had merged with the Congress hours before Koliwad took oath as minister.

It came as a surprise to many that neither disgruntled MLAs (to placate them) nor old-timers (to re-instill faith among cadres that loyalists are rewarded) from the two main parties were included in the cabinet.

Soon after the drubbing the Congress and the JD(S) received at the BJP's hands in the recently held Lok Sabha election, the coalition partners were looking at ways to save their government from falling apart. There were reports that the BJP, in a bid to bring down the government, was attempting to lure MLAs from the ruling parties and asking them to defect.

However, there have been no such attempts over the last two weeks, with state BJP president BS YEddyurappa stating that he had received orders from the party’s central leadership against disturbing the government for now.

A senior Congress MLA said the sulking ministers have been ‘persuaded’ by promising them berths in the next reshuffle. “It’s all settled. They have been having conversations with the PCC president,” he said.

A slew of projects has been launched of late besides regular reviews of government programmes, with the chief minister himself heading many of these meetings in important departments.

Yeddyurappa, who staged a protest on Friday against the state government’s failures on many fronts, said the cabinet expansion would only widen the rift within the Congress and JD(S).

“After the cabinet expansion, more than 20 aspirants from the two parties would be fighting (with their leadership). We’ll see how long this government lasts,” Yeddyurappa said.

There were naysayers within the ruling camp as well, with Koliwad speaking out against the induction of the two MLAs and prophesying the government’s fall within a few months.

Congress strongman and trouble-shooter DK Shivakumar, however, said, “I’ve seen the BJP’s statement that 20 people would start fighting among themselves. There is nothing wrong in Yeddyurappa hoping that he would become a chief minister one day. However, we are running the coalition, we can choose who we want to join as ministers. We will give an opportunity to the party’s seniors too in the cabinet later. We will take the right decisions at the right time.”

| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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