Dragging cabinet expansion an 'act of insult': Patil

Dragging cabinet expansion an 'act of insult': Patil

BC Patil.

Amid reports that the expansion of the coalition cabinet in Karnataka would be postponed following the announcement of by-polls, a voice of dissent has emerged from the Congress, with a party MLA terming the possible delay as an "act of insult" to legislators.

"Dragging the expansion of cabinet in Karnataka is an act of insult to legislators, killing democracy, upholding the dictatorship in the name of the party," Hirekerur MLA B C Patil has said in a tweet. The actor-turned-politician has also tagged Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Congress, its President Dinesh Gundu Rao, legislature party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara in his tweet. Earlier too Patil had openly expressed his displeasure against the party on him not making it in the first round of cabinet expansion.

According to Congress sources, several ministerial aspirants have expressed their reservation over any possible delay in the cabinet expansion, as speculations gained momentum after Election Commission yesterday announced the schedule for assembly and parliamentary by-polls in the state. The polling for the by-election in three Lok Sabha constituencies -- Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya, and two Assembly constituencies -- Ramanagara and Jamkhandi would take place on November 3, and the counting of votes would take place on November 6.

Leaders of the coalition including Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Pradesh Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao had earlier said the cabinet expansion would take place by October 10 or 12, adding that appointment of MLAs as heads of boards and corporations would also happen soon. While, Congress leaders have maintained that decision on cabinet expansion would be taken after consulting the party high command in the wake of the announcement of by-polls, the JD(S) leadership too is in favor of delaying the process, sources said.

The Lok Sabha by-poll was necessitated after BJP's B S Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga) and B Sriramalu (Ballari), and C S Puttaraju of JD(S) (Mandya) resigned as members on contesting and winning the assembly polls in May. While, by-election to Jamkhandi assembly seat was necessitated following the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda; Ramanagara segment fell vacant as Kumaraswamy gave up the seat and retained the Channapatna, out of two seats from where he had contested and won.

The cabinet expansion expected to take place would be the second one since the JD(S)-Congress coalition came to power in May in a post-poll tie-up. On June 6, Kumaraswamy had inducted 25 ministers, taking the ministry's strength to 27. There are six vacant ministerial positions for the Congress and one for the JD(S). Under the power-sharing arrangement reached by the two parties, the Congress would have 22 ministers and the JD(S) 12.