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Karnataka cabinet expansion to take place by third week of Sept: Siddaramaiah

There are seven vacancies in the state cabinet, which has a maximum strength of 34. While the Congress has six vacancies out of its share, the JDS has one.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2018 23:49 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Siddaramaiah,Karnataka,Karnataka cabinet expansion
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah clarified that there were no problems in the Congress-JD(S) alliance. (ANI FIle)

The Karnataka cabinet will be expanded by the third week of September, former chief minister Siddaramaiah announced after presiding over a meeting of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government’s coordination committee on Friday.

“The coordination committee has decided that the cabinet expansion and naming of chiefs of boards and corporations will be done by the third week of September,” said Siddaramaiah, the committee chairman.

There are seven vacancies in the state cabinet, which has a maximum strength of 34. The coalition partners had worked out a sharing matrix of 2:1 in terms of sharing cabinet berths. Going by this, the Congress was allowed to name 22 ministers and the JD(S) 12 – including the chief minister.

While the Congress has six vacancies out of its share, the JDS has one.

Dissent erupted in both the parties after the previous cabinet expansion, with politicians who missed out on berths openly airing their objections. Additionally, the over-representation of ministers from the southern districts resulted in some northern Karnataka groups seeking a separate state.

The coordination committee meeting – the third to happen so far – took place on a day when elections were held to 105 urban local bodies across 22 districts of the state. JD(S) national secretary general Danish Ali announced that the coalition partners would join hands for a post-poll alliance in all urban local bodies that suffered hung verdicts.

The coalition partners had decided to contest the polls independently for fear of party workers getting disenchanted, especially in the southern regions of the state, where the two parties were direct opponents.

Siddaramaiah also took the opportunity to criticise the media for publishing speculative stories, and asserted that the coalition would last its full term of five years. The veteran Congress leader had recently said that he would like to become the chief minister again, sparking speculation that all was not well in the coalition government.

“I said I would be the chief minister again if the Congress won three next assembly elections and if the people wanted me to be. What is wrong in that? All these speculations in the media are baseless and unfounded,” Siddaramaiah said.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 23:49 IST