Discussion on Cabinet expansion to resume after session; CM, Dy. CM to head back to Delhi

Expansion will take place before May 26, says KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed; first legislature session to swear in new legislators begins today

Updated - May 22, 2023 12:12 pm IST

Published - May 21, 2023 08:59 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka , Mangaluru :  13/09/2020 : KPCC working president, Saleem Ahmed, speaking in a press conference at Congress Bhavan, in Mangaluru on Sunday, September 13, 2020. PHOTO: H_S_MANJUNATH / THE HINDU

Karnataka , Mangaluru : 13/09/2020 : KPCC working president, Saleem Ahmed, speaking in a press conference at Congress Bhavan, in Mangaluru on Sunday, September 13, 2020. PHOTO: H_S_MANJUNATH / THE HINDU | Photo Credit: HSMANJUNATH

Consultations over expansion of the Cabinet are expected to resume after the first legislature session comes to an end on Wednesday. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar will head back to Delhi to meet the Central leaders.

A three-day session has been convened from Monday where the newly elected members will be administered oath by the pro term Speaker R.V. Deshpande. Mr. Siddaramaiah has indicated that a new full term Speaker will also be elected in the session.

“The consultation process is not over yet. The Cabinet expansion will take place before May 26,” KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed told The Hindu. He indicated that the Cabinet would be a mixture of seniors and a few new faces.

The allocation of portfolio is also expected to be delayed till the formation of a larger Cabinet, which would be possible after clearance from the high command, multiple party sources said. “The list of about 25 portfolios/Ministers is ready. But the allocation is being delayed as any changes later could result in embarrassment,” sources said.

Pulls and pressures

More Ministers could not be sworn in and the numbers were restricted to eight on Saturday, besides Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, because of the lack of consensus between the two leaders, said sources. While 20 more Cabinet Ministers are expected to be selected, the party is likely to keep four berths vacant, and the central leadership would be the deciding factor. Sources were also not confident of completing the expansion exercise in one go given the pulls and pressures from the two leaders. At least another 40 Cabinet aspirants are lobbying for the remaining positions, sources said.

“Both leaders have taken their list and both have not agreed to the other’s list. Both their claims seem to be legitimate. Some of the senior leaders whose entry into Cabinet was a foregone conclusion are now feeling slighted. A few of them did not attend the swearing in too. In such a scenario, it would be the Central leadership that would finalise the list of Cabinet Ministers,”  said a source, adding that balancing social justice and regional representation has been a huge task given such a big mandate.

“With big guarantees to be implemented, merit is being seen as a big point in identifying Ministers.”

‘Don’t visit’

On Sunday, in a message to workers and leaders, Mr. Shivakumar asked them to abstain from visiting either his house or Mr. Siddaramaiah’s house. “There is no use in visiting houses or complaining about what M.B. Patil or any other leaders are saying. There is no need for middlemen,” he said.

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