Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy to expand cabinet today, serious differences seen among the MLAs over portfolios

Bengaluru: A jittery and nervous Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy will on Wednesday expand his Cabinet two weeks after he assumed office. Jittery and nervous because sources in the JD(S) said that there are serious differences among the MLAs on two counts: on those to be inducted and secondly, the portfolios.

Kumaraswamy’s MLAs are upset as two key portfolios of Power and PWD would be going to the CM’s brother and a close relative. These portfolios are money-spinners and the direct beneficiaries would be the Gowda parivar. Sources say that CM’s brother HD Revanna would get the PWD portfolio and that the JD(S) may surrender the power portfolio to the Congress in exchange for Home.

Kumaraswamy was at pains to explain that there were no differences in the party. He said it was party national president Deve Gowda who had selected the names. But a sting operation by a TV channel showing that JD(S) was not keen to accommodate a Muslim in the Cabinet has put the party in a spot. B M Farook, the money bag of JD(S) and a member of legislative council worth over Rs 780 crore, was keen on becoming a minister. But Gowda put his foot down saying only MLAs would get be accommodated. But the sting shows a JD(S) insider saying that the party is upset as Muslims did not support Kumaraswamy and had voted for the Congress.

The JD(S) has a tough job ahead as the party has to balance caste and region representation among the 8-9 portfolios under its control. There are murmurs in the Congress camp too over who should get which portfolio. The big fight is over giving an important portfolio to DK Shivakumar, the Congress party’s `resort keeper” (it was he who safeguarded Gujarat lawmakers in the Ahmed Patel episode in a resort and, more recently, the Congress MLAs of Karnataka.


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