Karnataka Cabinet To Be Expanded Tomorrow Amid Discontent In Coalition

HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah hope the cabinet expansion will defuse coalition tensions.

BENGALURU: 

The expansion of the Karnataka cabinet will take place at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Friday afternoon. The ruling Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) coalition is expected to use the occasion to placate legislators who have been showing signs of leaving their respective parties.

The recently concluded Lok Sabha elections proved disastrous for the two parties, which had joined hands for the purpose. Each one just one seat out of the state’s 28. There were speculations at the time that many of their legislators would cross over to the BJP, which scored an impressive 25 seats and backed an independent candidate who also won.

The Congress, in particular, faced open dissidence with several party members criticizing party leaders and the coalition itself. Senior legislator and former state home minister Roshan Baig called the party’s state in-charge KC Venugopal a “buffoon”, state party chief Dinesh Gundu Rao a “flop show”, and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah “arrogant”.

Another legislator, Ramesh Jarkiholi, also seems to have one foot out of the door after being distanced from the party early this year. Former home minister Ramalinga Reddy, who was not given a ministerial post when the coalition government was formed last year, criticized the party leadership too.

In the midst of this turmoil, the parties are now expected to use the opportunity to expand and reshuffle the cabinet to calm down those seemingly unsatisfied with their lot. The coalition has 117 members in the House, where the majority mark is 113. Although the BJP is close behind with 105 seats, the party claims that it will not take any proactive steps to bring down the government.

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