The six month-old Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka is once again on the edge post the cabinet expansion.
Congress MLAs who were inducted into the Karnataka cabinet are lobbying for key posts. Congress general secretary and Karnataka in-charge KC Venugopal is said to have discussed about the cabinet expansion with KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and former chief minister Siddaramaiah. Venugopal is expected to brief Congress president Rahul Gandhi about the matter who will then take a final call.
The eight Congress MLAs who were inducted into the cabinet on December 22nd are MB Patil, RB Timmapur, Satish Jarkiholi, CS Shivahalli, PT Parameshwar Naik, E Tukaram, Rahim Khan and MTB Nagaraj. Although the Congress party is said to have struck the right balance by inducting MLAs from various communities in the state, it is now facing an even more bigger challenge.
The existing ministers in the Karnataka cabinet are apparently fighting to retain their existing portfolios while the newly inducted members are gunning for certain prominent roles. The Congress is already having a tough time convincing disgruntled MLAs and keeping dissidence at bay that surfaced after cabinet expansion but if anything goes wrong in the allotment of portfolios it may face rebellion from within its own cabinet.
Repeated efforts by the Congress party to persuade rebel MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi, BC Patil, Bheema Nailk and BK Sangamesh has apparently not fructified.
Latching onto the dissidence that has cropped up in the Congress, former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar predicted the downfall of HD Kumaraswamy’s government.
“For the past six months, people are questioning when will the government fall? And is there a government in the state? After prolonged delay they expanded the cabinet. They're facing the consequences of their decision. We had already predicted that the fall of the government will begin post cabinet expansion," Jagadish Shettar, Former K’taka CM & BJP leader said.
The JD(S) has decided to induct its share of two MLAs in the Karnataka Cabinet in January. The rebellion within the Congress and JD(S) is expected to have a strong bearing on the upcoming 2019 polls. If the JD(S) and Congress emerge successful in quelling dissent, the coalition is predicted to get the upper hand in the Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP, on the other hand, is playing a wait and watch game, contemplating to make up its dismal performance in the bypolls by strengthening its cadres in the state.