Kumaraswamy meets Rahul Gandhi, urges to give nod for Karnataka cabinet expansion

New Delhi: On the completion of 100 days of JDS-Congress government in Karnataka, state chief minister H D Kumaraswamy today met Rahul Gandhi and said the coalition was going strong even as he discussed the expansion of his cabinet with the Congress chief.

While Kumaraswamy termed his meeting as a “courtesy call”, sources said a decision to expand the state cabinet was taken during the meeting between the two leaders which would be done in the next few weeks. Kumaraswamy told reporters after the meeting that a decision on cabinet expansion of the coalition government and appointment of chairmen of various boards and corporations would be taken soon.

The chief minister also said that the JD(S)-Congress coalition government is secure under the leadership of senior Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah. In a brief meeting with Gandhi at his residence, Kumaraswamy also apprised him about the performance of the coalition government which completed 100 days today.

“Today I completed 100 days in Chief Minister’s office, so I am here to pay my regards to the Congress President,” he said.

He added that Gandhi expressed happiness over the way the Karnataka government was functioning. He denied having discussed the recent statements of Siddharamaiah during the meeting. Siddaramaiah’s remarks about becoming the state chief minister have given rise to speculation about the strains developing between the two coalition partners in the state.

“In the meeting, I have requested Congress President to take an early decision on expansion of the cabinet and appointment of chairmen of various corporation and boards,” Kumaraswamy said.

At present, the cabinet comprises 16 Congress and 10 JD(S) members, including chief minister and deputy chief minister, and as per rule four more can be added, one from JD(S) and three from Congress. Kumaraswamy’s discussions with Gandhi also comes on the eve of the JD(S)-Congress Coordination Committee meeting scheduled tomorrow to iron out differences in the alliance that have arisen after Siddaramaiah’s remarks.

“He (Siddaramaiah) is a leader. If he expresses desire to become CM, what’s wrong in that.”

“The coalition government is secure under the leadership of Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah is necessary for the coalition government to run safety,” Kumaraswamy said.

Already, Siddaramaiah has given clarification that he would become the chief minister if people desire in the next election, the CM said.

“Despande (senior Congress leader) too may have desire to become chief minister. There is no no need to interpret and understand it in a different way,” he added.

R V Despande is a Revenue Minister in the coalition government in Karnataka.

“People in the state have various expectations. My first goal is to fulfill their expectations in the coming days,” he said, while asserting that the coalition government is successful in completing 100 days in the state.

The 100 days of honeymoon period is over and the government will start implementing the blue print in the coming days, he added. Later, Kumaraswamy also tweeted about various steps taken by his government like farm loan waiver.

“The JDS-Congress coalition government has completed the 100 days today. We have taken a small step in solving the hardship of rice farmers through debt. The goal of this coalition government is to provide employment of youth, empowerment of women, providing self-sustaining life to farmers and overall development of entire Karnataka,” he tweeted.

The chief minister’s official Twitter handle also tweeted a picture of him and Gandhi, saying Kumaraswamy exchanged greetings with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on completing 100 days in office.

“The coalition government is committed to its vision of ‘Samagra Karnataka – Samrudha Karnataka’. We have envisioned projects and policies to achieve this,” the handle also tweeted.

“I thank my coalition partners, the leaders and the people for supporting the government wholeheartedly. I also thank the public, private sector, volunteers and the media for generously contributing to the CM Calamity Relief Fund and joining hands with the government in the rescue and rehabilitation works,” the chief minister tweeted.

Kumaraswamy also met President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan. He met Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh and discussed the flood and drought situation in Karnataka.

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