Cloud over rejig as HDK awaits Congress move

Cloud over rejig as HDK awaits Congress move

H D Kumaraswamy

Though just two days are left for the much-anticipated expansion of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s Cabinet, the government is yet to seek Governor Vajubhai R Vala’s appointment to carry out the exercise.

Kumaraswamy on Thursday said that he was waiting for a “signal” from his coalition partner, Congress, to go ahead with the formalities.

The Congress has repeatedly stressed that the Cabinet will be expanded, reshuffled — or both — on December 22. But the chief minister’s cryptic response comes at a time when political circles are abuzz with rumours that the Cabinet expansion will not happen until after the Lok Sabha elections, given that the Congress is a divided house.

“The major partner is Congress — it all depends on the decision the party arrives at. We (JD-S camp) are ready. There is no problem in my party, as we are all united,” said Kumaraswamy, during an interaction with the media at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha here.

“Once my senior partner (Congress) gives me a message, I will write to the Governor,” Kumaraswamy said, when asked if he had written to Vala seeking his time for the Cabinet expansion. It is the Governor who administers the oath of office to Cabinet inductees.

Kumaraswamy said that the government had spelt out its intentions. “The Congress leaders have gone to Delhi for that very purpose,” he added.

Eight positions in the 34-member Cabinet are vacant, of which the Congress can fill up six and the JD(S) two. There are over a dozen ministerial aspirants in the Congress who are mounting pressure on the party leadership.

Congress leaders, including its legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Thursday flew to New Delhi to hold talks with their party president Rahul Gandhi to obtain his approval to expand the Cabinet positions and finalise allocation of portfolios.

Rahul is scheduled to return from Shimla, where he is holidaying, to New Delhi late on Thursday. The state leaders are slated to meet him at his residence on Friday.