HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka assembly pollssh News Website
HD Kumaraswamy claimed that there was a strong undercurrent in his favour, especially in rural areas, and people are saying "this time it is Kumaranna" | File Photo/PTI

K'taka cabinet expansion rescheduled to June 14 due to Karnad's death

The much awaited expansion of the HD Kumaraswamy-led cabinet on June 12 aimed at saving the coalition government, has been rescheduled to Friday (June 14) as the state mourning is in place due to the death of Girish Karnad, an official release said on Monday (June 10).

“Following the death of Jnanpith awardee, writer and theatre personality Girish Karnad, the swearing-in of new ministers scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 has been rescheduled to Friday, June 14 at 1 PM,” the Chief Minister’s office said in a statement.

Kumaraswamy on Saturday (June 8) had announced that Governor Vajubhai Vala has fixed 11.30 am on June 12 for administering the oath of office for the new ministers. But, with the passing away of Karnad, a renowned playwright and actor on Monday, the state government announced a three-day state mourning, during which such official programmes cannot be organised.

After being routed in the Lok Sabha polls and with growing disgruntlement within, the coalition leaders had come to a decision to go in for cabinet expansion by filling in three vacant posts. According to sources, 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.

Of the total 34 ministerial positions in Karnataka, Congress and JD(S) have shared 22 and 12 respectively according to the coalition arrangement. Currently, three posts are vacant, two from JD(S) and one from Congress. There are talks within the coalition circles about inducting Independent MLA Nagesh and KPJP MLA R Shankar into the cabinet, thereby ensuring that they dont side with the BJP, sources said.

A disgruntled Congress leader or JD(S) MLC B M Farooq is being considered for third vacant post. Increased number of aspirants in the Congress is worrying the coalition leaders as it may once again lead to disgruntlement and cause disturbance for the smooth functioning of the alliance government.

Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal is likely to be in the city on Tuesday and hold meetings with state unit leaders and disgruntled legislators, aimed at defusing the situation, party sources said. The coalition leaders fear onslaught by the BJP to destabilise the government, after the saffron party won 25 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, leaving Congress and JD(S) to share one seat each. The BJP supported independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh had won in Mandya.

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