BENGALURU: On Sankranthi, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sent out a happy message to aspiring ministers by promising to expand his Cabinet soon.
For those who may not make it, Siddaramaiah is offering consolation prizes: they can become his political secretaries.
Siddaramaiah, who met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Thursday, discussed the political situation in the state with them.
Issues related to Cabinet expansion, the BJP’s attempts to corner him over Arkavathy Layout denotification and the KPSC hiring controversy figured prominently at the meeting in the national capital, a party source said.
Siddaramaiah explained all aspects of the denotification issue to party elders since the BJP is preparing to seek Governor Vajubhai Vala’s sanction to prosecute him.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said he would expand the Cabinet soon, but wouldn’t commit to a date.
Two or three MLAs may be named political secretaries ahead of the joint session of the legislature, expected to begin in the first week of February.
According to official sources, Siddaramaiah mooted the idea of appointing political secretaries since they can then be granted the status of ministers of state with all attendant perks.
With this move, he hopes to address the discontent brewing among MLAs seeking Cabinet berths.
The names of MLAs Rudrappa Manappa Lamani (Haveri), Rajashekhara Patil (Humnabad), A S Patil Nadahalli (Devarahipparagi) and B G Govindappa (Hosadurga) and MLC V S Ugrappa are doing the rounds for political secretary posts.
Four slots are vacant in the Cabinet, and it is likely he will fill three, the source said.
When contacted, K B Koliwad, Congress MLA and ministerial aspirant, said he would not settle for anything less than a berth in the ministry. Eshwar Khandre, Manohar Tahsildar, Vinay Kulakarni, Malakareddy and H M Revanna are the the frontrunners for ministerial berths.
CM Set to Mollify Rebels With Big Posts
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah loyalist Ugrappa said, “I am ready to accept any responsibility offered by the party. Given a choice between serving the party and serving the government, I would take the former.”
Rajashekhara Patil, Congress MLA from Humanabad, said he knew nothing about the move to make him the chief minister’s political secretary.
“I prefer a ministerial berth,” he remarked.
Siddaramaiah’s meeting with AICC President Sonia assumes significance amid rumours that a BJP delegation will meet Governor Vajubhai Vala next week and seek his sanction to prosecute Siddaramaiah over the return of land acquired for Arkavathy Layout to private parties.