HD Kumaraswamy may recast ministry to save coalition
Sources said Kumaraswamy may drop 3 JDS and 4 Cong ministers to accommodate fresh faces in their place.
Sources said Kumaraswamy may drop three JDS and four Congress ministers to accommodate fresh faces in their place. Some Congress ministers, it is said, have offered to sacrifice their position in an effort to save the government.
The ministry reshuffle is not a new idea and was, in fact, decided before the Lok Sabha polls. The Congress had assured one or two senior leaders of accommodation in the cabinet after the elections. The outcome of the polls, however, has given a clear idea to both Congress and JDS on which MLA should go, and who should come in. The CM may move fast towards this as two Congress MLAs - former minister Ramesh Jharkiholi and K Sudhakar - met former CM and BJP leader SM Krishna at the latter's residence on Sunday, when senior BJP leader R Ashok too was around. Jharkiholi said he was certain to leave the Congress, but did not wish to say when. A day after the electoral setback in the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, Congress and JDS ministers pledged their support to Kumaraswamy.
JD(S)-Congress coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah has also assured support to Kumaraswamy. The Congress has favoured a deeper bonding between the two parties.
JD(S) and Congress leaders are alarmed at Congress MLAs visiting Krishna and fear that the former CM may turn out to be a new pivot for the disgruntled MLAs. Congress MLA R Roshan Baig has already heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on BJP's spectacular show in the elections.
The BJP, according to one source, is keen to make swift moves and topple the government even before the cabinet is reshuffled. It is, however, not known if the BJP central leadership would support such a move.
The one-year-old JD(S)-Congress regime has moved closer to uncertainty after the two parties suffered the humiliating defeat. While the BJP expected the coalition regime to fall on its own, it has not happened. The BJP may now work out a different strategy to hasten the government's fall.
The CM had carried out a cabinet reshuffle on December 22 in which he dropped Jharkiholi, among others, and inducted eight new faces including home minister MB Patil.
In the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, BJP's tally has climbed to 105 seats after the recent by-polls. The Congress has improved its tally to 79 by winning the Kundagol seat in Dharwad district. The JD(S) has 37 MLAs while the BSP has one member. Two MLAs are independents.
The ruling coalition is surviving on a razor-thin majority.