Bengaluru: Karnataka Congress legislators have agreed to abide by the decision of the party high command on a cabinet expansion or reshuffle, a senior party office-bearer said on Thursday.
“The consensus among the MLAs is to abide by the high command’s decision on expanding or reshuffling our ministers in the cabinet, party’s state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters after a meeting here.
In the 34-member ministry, the Congress has 21 ministers under its quota of 22 in the one-year-old coalition government, while its ally Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) has 12 cabinet posts of which 10 have been filled.
“As only one cabinet post is vacant in our quota, scope for making more legislators ministers is limited. Hence, some of them will be appointed chairmen of the state-run boards or corporations from our quota of 20 such posts,” Rao said.
Asserting that the government was stable and would complete its 5-year term, Rao said the legislators have been told to focus on drought relief work and implementation of the policies and programmes announced in the state budget for fiscal 2019-20.
“There is no threat to the coalition government, as all our legislators are united to thwart attempts by the opposition BJP to destabilise it by luring some of our MLAs with money and promises of cabinet posts,” said Rao.
In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated from the Anglo-Indian community, the Bharatiya Janata Party has 105 MLAs, Congress 78, excluding the speaker, JD-S 37, one each from the regional outfit – Karnataka Pragyavantara Janata Paksha (KPJP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an Independent.
Admitting that the rout faced by the party in the recent Lok Sabha elections in which it won only one seat was a severe setback, Rao said the legislators have been directed to analyse the results in their Assembly segments and find reasons for losing 20 of the 21 parliamentary seats the party contested, including 9 it held in the previous House.
The JD-S, which contested in the remaining 7 seats, also won only one seat, while the BJP bagged 25 of the 28 seats in the southern state.
An Independent (Sumalatha Ambareesh), backed by the BJP, also won.
“We are introspecting on the causes for losing so many (20) seats for the first time in the state though we had fielded joint candidates with the JD-S in all the 28 seats to prevent division of votes and benefit by the transfer of votes mutually. The verdict shows it did not happen,” said Rao.