Bypoll casts shadow on Cabinet expansion

Bengaluru: The suspense over Cabinet expansion continues with ruling Congress party leaders debating if the exercise will get delayed further if bypolls to the Ramanagara and Jamkhandi Assembly seats are announced. Ramanagara was vacated by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy after he won two seats in the Assembly polls and retained Chennapattana while the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyame Gowda in an accident has necessitated the Jamkhandi byelection.

Earlier, when dissidence was at its peak in the Congress, senior leaders had announced that the Cabinet would be expanded immediately after the Legislative Council polls. However, the Council election did not happen as expected as the BJP did not contest the polls. Meanwhile, KPCC president, Dinesh Gundurao announced last week that the expansion would take place after the Pitru Paksha phase (considered inauspicious)  and in all probability after October 12. 

Now the buzz in the Congress is that the Election Commission may announce dates for the byelections to the two constituencies and if that happens, the expansion will be  delayed further by not less than 45 days. If the expansion is delayed till mid-November, it remains to be seen if the high command will have time to conduct this tricky exercise with so many aspirants vying for the six Cabinet berths as party leaders will be busy with the Assembly elections in five states including Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In such a scenario, the entire process may get postponed again and may happen only after polls in the  five states,  sources explained.


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