Top Congress leaders on Thursday held discussions with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy D K Shivakumar over expansion of the state Cabinet. According to reports, a total of 25 ministers will take oath on Saturday as part of the Karnataka Cabinet expansion.
Both the leaders met Congress general secretary in-charge for Karnataka Randeep Surjewala and the party’s general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal. They then held meetings with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge separately at his residence.
Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar along with Surjewala then held a meeting at the party’s Gurudwara Rakabganj Road office and discussed the names that could be included in the expanded Cabinet of the state. Sources said around 20 more ministers are likely to be inducted in the Karnataka Cabinet. Another round of discussions will be held before the state cabinet is finalised, they added.
Shivakumar had landed in the national capital on Wednesday evening while Siddaramaiah arrived later in the night.
Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar were sworn in as Karnataka chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively along with eight cabinet ministers on May 20. However, the ministers have not yet been allocated their portfolios.
The Congress high command approved the first list of eight ministers against the earlier plan of inducting a much higher number of around 28 legislators into the cabinet.
Sources said the names of only those MLAs were cleared who represented all sections and were senior-most and there were no objections from any side over the choice.
Differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are emerging over names of probable ministers with both pushing the case of MLAs close to them.
Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 ministers and the Congress will find it difficult to accommodate all the aspirants.