Bengaluru: In a determined bid to bolster the stability of the 13-month old Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday inducted two independent legislators- R. Shankar and H. Nagesh- into his cabinet.
But considering the number of senior leaders who gave the event a miss, it remains to be seen if the induction will help calm frayed tempers or will only worsen the tussle within the coalition taking it to the brink.
Shankar is a Karnataka Pragyavantara Janata Paksha (KPJP) MLA from Ranebennur in Haveri while Nagesh is an independent MLA from Mulbagal in Kolar. With the induction of the two independents, the coalition strength in the 224-member assembly stands at 118 while the BJP has 105 MLAs. No legislator from the Congress or Janata Dal (Secular) was inducted and with just one vacant slot left, this is likely to cause a lot of heartburn among aspirants in both parties.
In fact, the resentment was evident even at the swearing-in ceremony with former JD(S) state president A. H. Vishwanath skipping the event and choosing to meet Bharatiya Janata Party leaders instead!
Many other senior leaders were missing including former ministers Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig who have been involved in a war of words with the Congress leadership in recent weeks.
Former minister H.K. Patil kept away and so did Hirekerur MLA B.C. Patil, a cabinet hopeful who missed the bus again.
“Instead of giving an opportunity to our party's legislators, Mr Kumaraswamy has decided to make Mr Shankar and Mr Nagesh ministers to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party from poaching them,” a Congress leader pointed out.
Sources said that there is a possibility of the Chief Minister undertaking a cabinet rejig at a later stage when some of the current ministers will be asked to step down to provide an opportunity to disgruntled coalition MLAs, many of whom are threatening to jump ship and join the Bharatiya Janata Party....