BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will finally expand his two-and-a-half-year-old Cabinet.
Congress party bosses on Wednesday gave Siddaramaiah the green signal to fill up four vacancies in his Cabinet, while categorically brushing aside KPCC president
G Parameshwar’s demand for the deputy chief minister’s post.
Parameshwar will now join the Cabinet as a minister, though reluctantly.
AICC president Sonia Gandhi herself convinced Parameshwar to join the Cabinet during their meeting on Wednesday morning.
The official list of new ministers was expected late Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but it is learnt that MLAs Manohar Tahasildar (from Hanagal constituency), Vinay Kulkarni (Dharwad) and A Manju (Arkalgud) would also join the Cabinet.
The oath-taking ceremony will be held on Thursday at around 4.30 pm, Congress sources said. With the expansion, there will also be a minor reshuffle in the portfolios.
It is learnt that the Siddaramaiah camp is aggressively pitching for Bagalkot MLA H Y Meti’s inclusion as the chief minister wants to return Meti’s favour of standing by him during his bad times.
Siddaramaiah’s perseverance might see Tahasildar’s name being axed from the list at the last minute, a senior Congress leader told Express. Meti belongs to the Kuruba community.
Except Parameshwara, the other three have been selected from the districts that had no representation in the cabinet.
While Vinay Kulkarni, a Lingayat, and Tahasildar a Balija, hail from Dharwad and Haveri districts, respectively, Manju (Vokkaliga) is from Hassan.
Manju’s elevation is being seen as an effort to minimise the influence of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s family in the district, while Kulkarni’s promotion is expected to check RDPR Minister H K Patil’s clout in the erstwhile undivided Dharwad district. Kulkarni has always been seen in the anti-Patil camp.
With the expansion, there will also be a minor reshuffle in the portfolios and Parameshwara is expected to get the Water Resources Ministry.
This time around, Siddaramaiah had the last laugh as he not only managed to convince the party bosses to defer a cabinet reshuffle till the panchayat and council elections are over, but also got to fill up vacancies with men of his choice while neglecting the claims of seniors like Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa and MLAs K B Koliwad, Malikayya Guttedar, A B Malakaraddi and others.
A full-fledged rejig of the Cabinet would have proved to be a bigger headache to Siddaramaiah and the induction of seniors would have eroded his control over the ministry. Though Tahasildar and Manju are seniors, they are unlikely to exceed their brief.