Bengaluru: The much-awaited expansion and reshuffle of the six month-old H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition Cabinet in Karnataka would be carried out here Saturday evening.Two ministers — Ramesh Jarkiholi (Municipal Administration) and R Shankar (Forest and Environment) — are likely to be dropped, official sources said. New ministers would be sworn in at 5.20 pm by Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan, the sources said. According to a statement issued by the office of Congress Legislature Party Leader Siddaramaiah, Satish Jarkiholi, M B Patil, C S Shivalli, M T B Nagaraj, E Tukaram, P T Parameshwar Naik, Rahim Khan and R B Thimmapur would be inducted into the ministry.
The press statement came a day after the names were cleared by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi, after meeting party General Secretary in charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, CLP leader Siddarmaiah, Pradesh Congress Chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara gave the go-ahead on Friday night. Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has been allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders and not attending Cabinet and party meetings is being replaced by his brother Satish Jarkiholi. Shankar is an Independent lawmaker who is reportedly facing the axe over his reluctance to be an associate member of the Congress.
However, Congress’ coalition partner JD(S) will not be part of this round of cabinet expansion, and is likely to induct new ministers from its side post Sankranthi, sources said. According to the pact reached between the two partners at the time of formation of the coalition government in May, there are now six vacant ministerial positions left for the Congress and two for the JD(S). This would be the second expansion in the ministry.
With the cabinet expansion exercise being deferred repeatedly, several aspirants, especially those from the Congress, had openly expressed their displeasure. Despite reiteration by Congress leaders that the expansion would take place on the scheduled date (December 22), party MLAs were sceptical about it happening till the Lok Sabha polls early next year. Some of them have also cited “Shoonya Masa” that is considered inauspicious, as the reason. Along with cabinet expansion, appointment of MLAs as heads to boards and corporations, and parliamentary secretaries to ministers would also be made Saturday, the source said.
Congress leaders V Muniappa has been finalised as political secretary to the Chief Minister and Ajay Singh as state representative in the national capital, sources said, adding Sharanabasappa Darshanapur has been nominated as the Deputy Chairman of state planning commission. Meanwhile, disgruntlement seems to be simmering in the Congress with a few senior aspirants not being considered for the ministerial berth.
Sowmya Reddy (MLA), daughter of senior Congress legislator and former Minister Ramalinga Reddy, has expressed her resentment over her father not being considered for the post, pointing out his contribution for the growth of the party in Bengaluru city. She has also declined to accept Parliamentary Secretary post that has been offered to her. Another aspirant and Hirekerur MLA B C Patil is also unhappy over not being considered for any ministeial post.