In an attempt to douse simmering discontent in the ruling coalition and ensuring stability of the one-year-old government, Karnataka
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has expanded his Cabinet on Friday with the induction of two Independent MLAs — R. Shankar (Ranebennur) and H. Nagesh (Mulbagal) — as Ministers.
Governor Vajubhai R. Vala administered the oath to new ministers in the Glass House at Raj Bhavan in the presence of Mr. Kumraswamy, and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.
Former Chief Minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, Home Minister M.B. Patil, Ministers, and Congress and JD (S) leaders attended the swearing-in ceremony. A large number of relatives and supporters of newly sworn-in ministers also participated.
Mr. Shankar, a first-time MLA, has become the Minister in the Kumaraswamy government for the second time in less seven months. He was included when Mr. Kumaraswamy formed his Cabinet in June 2018 and he was served as the Forest Minister. Later, he was dropped during the expansion in December 2018. He defeated former Legislative Assembly Speaker K.B. Koliwad of the Congress in 2018 elections.
Mr. Nagesh, also a first-time MLA and former KPTCL director, is a close associate of Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar.
Of the 34 ministerial positions, the Congress and the JD(S) have 22 and 12 respectively, by way of an understanding between the two parties. With the Friday’s expansion, only one Cabinet berth is vacant now.
The expansion is largely aimed at quelling the threat to the stability of the governing coalition. It is also aimed at preventing the Opposition BJP from luring Independents to its side. In the 224 elected members of the House, the BJP has 105 MLAs, short of eight MLAs to form the government.