CM in Delhi to discuss ministry expansion with high command

CM in Delhi to discuss ministry expansion with high command

May propose S R Patil as new state Congress president

CM in Delhi to discuss ministry expansion with high command

Buoyed by the Congress’ victory in the byelections to the Assembly, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arrived in New Delhi on Friday night to discuss the filling of two vacant berths in his council of ministers, with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.

Soon after his arrival in New Delhi, Siddaramaiah met party general secretary incharge of Karnataka, Digvijaya Singh, and discussed the issue.  He was accompanied by KPCC president G Parameshwara and working president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

One of the entrants could be Geetha Mahadeva Prasad, who got elected from Gundlupet seat in the bypolls. For the other slot, the chief minister is keen on inducting a backward classes leader, particularly from his own Kuruba community.

Siddaramaiah and some of his confidante ministers are expected to meet Sonia and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday afternoon and discuss the ministry expansion, appointment of new president for Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and filling of vacant seats in the Legislative Council, through nominations.

Though the incumbent KPCC president Parameshwara, who is also the home minister, is inclined to continue in the post, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar is also eyeing the top post. However, Siddaramaiah is in favour of former minister S R Patil, though the final decision will be left to the party top brass, sources said.

With Siddaramaiah already declaring that the party would face the next Assembly elections under his leadership, he is keen to install a leader who will enjoy his confidence as the next KPCC president, sources close to him said.

With some of the leaders including former chief minister S M Krishna deserting the party and some such as C K Jaffer Sharief and M V Rajashekharan praising  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress high command is keen on overhauling the party setup in Karnataka to face the Assembly polls due early next year, sources said.

Reacting to speculation that Geetha Mahadeva Prasad may be inducted into the ministry, Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru that the chief minister might consider one of the candidates who won the byelections.

Parameshwara said that the long-pending nomination of three members to the legislative council will also be discussed with the high command.

Parameshwara said he wants to lead the party in the assembly elections to be held next year, but said he will abide by the high command’s decision in this regard. Parameshwara has been the state Congress president for over six years. A section of ministers has been trying to get him replaced with a new leader to lead the party, he added.

He said Sonia congratulated Siddaramaiah and him on the party’s victory in the byelections. The Congress chief also asked the two leaders to prepare for the Assembly elections next year and bring the party back to power, he added.