Cabinet expansion this month: Dinesh Gundu Rao

Bengaluru: Ending speculation over further delay in expansion of the cabinet in view of Assembly polls in northern states, state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said on Wednesday new faces will join the coalition cabinet this month. 

He told the media on the sidelines of a function organized to mark the birth anniversary of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the coalition partners were on the same page visa-vis expansion of the cabinet, and the exercise would be completed soon after the return of JD (S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda from his overseas tour.  "It (expansion of cabinet) will be done this month itself," he said adding that party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal had already indicated about it. 

Mr Rao explained that new faces could not be inducted-six of Congress and two of Dal (S)-for various reasons including this month's bypolls to three Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats. Besides, appointment of MLAS as chairpersons of boards and corporations was also delayed in view of these bypolls. 

Meanwhile, sources in Congress said top leaders have drawn up a list of legislators to be appointed as chairpersons in an effort to thwart a revolt by unsuccessful aspirants. 

This would be the second expansion of the cabinet since the coalition came to power in May. Under the power sharing arrangement reached by the two parties, Congress would have 22 ministers and the JD(S) 12. In the earlier exercise on June 6, Mr Kumaraswamy had inducted 25 ministers, taking the ministry's strength to 27. However, the lone BSP Minister in the coalition cabinet N Mahesh, who was inducted from JD(S) side, had quit his post in October citing personal reasons, but said he would continue to support the ruling coalition. 

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