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Parameshwara says by-election delayed Karnataka cabinet expansion

Devdiscourse News Desk bengaluru India
Updated: 10-10-2018 20:25 IST

The ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition leadership would decide on Karnataka cabinet expansion after the November 3 bypolls to Assembly and parliamentary seats in the state, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said on Wednesday.

He also accused the opposition of continuing with its efforts to "destabilise" the government, and said the saffron party was facing "disappointment."

On cabinet expansion, he said, "Seven positions in the cabinet are vacant, definitely we will expand the cabinet to fill them, but when we will do it... if there was no by-election, by now that exercise would have been completed."

"After the bye-election, the leadership will take some decision," Parameshwara told reporters here.

The expansion of the H D Kumaraswamy-led government's cabinet and appointment of MLAs as heads of boards and corporations were expected to take place this week, but it has now been delayed following the announcement of Assembly and parliamentary bypolls in the state.

The decision to delay the exercise has even given rise to the voice of dissent within the Congress, with a few aspirants demanding that the expansion is taken up at the earliest.

In the earlier such exercise 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 will have 22 ministers and JD(S) 12.

On selection of candidates for the bypolls, Parameshwara said the party has almost finalised the candidates for the assembly constituencies, but for parliamentary seats, the names of nominees would be decided in a couple of days.

Seat sharing has also been discussed between the coalition partners, he said, adding, "We will take the decision on candidates in a couple of days."

The ruling coalition had yesterday decided to put up a united fight against the BJP in the bypolls. They also said the Congress would fight in Ballari and Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituencies and the JD(S)in Mandya, its traditional stronghold in the Vokkaliga belt of old Mysuru region.

For the Assembly bypolls, the Congress will contest from Jamakhandi and the JD(S) from Ramanagara, which chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had won but gave up after retaining Channapatna, the other segment bagged by him in the May Assembly elections.

The Election Commission had on Saturday announced the bypolls to Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies, and to Ramanagara and Jamkhandi assembly segments. Counting of votes will be held on November 6.

The bypolls were necessitated after BJP's B S Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga) and B Sriramalu (Ballari), and C S Puttaraju of JD(S) (Mandya) resigned as MPs on their election to the Karnataka Assembly in May this year.

Bye-elections to Jamkhandi Assembly seat was required following the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, while Ramanagara fell vacant after Kumaraswamy gave up the seat preferring Channapatna.

Responding to a question, Parameshwara accused the BJP of continuing with its efforts to destabilise the coalition government in the state and said: "they are facing disappointment."

"Disappointment because no one from us (Congress) are in a position to go along with them as soon as they call, and also they will lose their membership if they do it," he said.

Conceding that some Congress MLAs had openly expressed their dissent on certain issues, he said, "But no one will leave (the party) and go (to the BJP)."

(With inputs from agencies.)