Cabinet will be expanded this week, says HDK

Cabinet will be expanded this week, says HDK

H D Kumaraswamy

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said the expansion of the Council of Ministers will take place in about two days, even as the stalemate over sharing of key portfolios between the coalition partners — the JD(S) and the Congress — continued.

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy said, “Cabinet expansion will happen in about two days. (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi is coming back from his trip abroad. We will hold discussions and finalise it.”

Hectic deliberations between the leaders of the two parties have been on since May 19, after the then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa resigned as he did not have the numbers to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

The two parties are yet to come to a consensus on who should get key portfolios, especially finance. At present, Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara of the Congress are the only two members in the Cabinet.

Kumaraswamy said it was a matter of time before all issues are resolved. He said the coalition government will complete its full five-year term. He said the government was committed to turning Karnataka into a model state.

Meanwhile, the newly elected JD(S) MLAs held a meeting at party supremo H D Deve Gowda's residence in Padmanabhanagar. They stuck to their stand that the finance portfolio should be given to the JD(S) in the power-sharing arrangement.

However, the Congress had been telling the JD(S) that during the coalition government in Karnataka in 2004 and 2006, the finance ministry portfolio was given to the then deputy chief ministers. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah is said to be the brain behind the hard bargaining tactic of the Congress. Sources in the party said that if the JD(S) gets finance, it will take total credit for the crop loan waiver scheme once it is implemented besides strengthening its hold on the state treasury.

Kumaraswamy said that there were no differences in the JD(S) on ministry formation and they were only waiting for a go-ahead from the Congress on Cabinet expansion.