Ten days after induction, CM allocates portfolios to two new ministers


PTI, Jun 25, 2019, 9:06 AM IST

Bengaluru: Ten days after inducting two Independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh into the ministry, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy Monday allocated portfolios for them.

The chief minister also appointed SR Srinivas as Primary and Secondary Education Minister.

While Shankar has been given the portfolio of Municipalities and Local Bodies, Nagesh gets Small Scale Industries, an official gazette said.

SR Srinivas from JD(S), who was holding the Small Scale Industries portfolio, has been given the charge of Primary and Secondary Education, it said.

The Primary and Secondary Education Ministry was with the Chief Minister after lone BSP MLA N Mahesh quit from the cabinet in October last year and there was growing pressure on Kumaraswamy from within, especially from JD(S) state chief AH Vishwanath to appoint a minister.

Kumaraswamy on June 14 had expanded his cabinet by inducting the two Independent MLAs in an apparent move to give stability to his 13-month old wobbly government.

The exercise was seen as a move to ensure that the two independents don’t jump ship once again towards BJP.

Shankar was inducted from the Congress’ share and Nagesh from the JD(S) quota in the ministry.

Under the coalition arrangement, out of the total of 34 ministerial positions, Congress and JD(S) have shared 22 and 12 berths respectively.

Prior to the expansion, three posts were vacant — two from JD(S) and one from Congress.

The two were inducted, overlooking the claims of several senior leaders, particularly in the Congress, who are sulking ever since they failed to make it to the ministry earlier.

Post the cabinet expansion, disgruntlement has been simmering within the Congress with several legislators holding secret meetings, party sources said.

After expansion of the Ministry, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao had said that in about six to eight months, the process of reshuffle would begin, during which those who have not got the opportunity, including several seniors, would be taken into confidence.

Shankar had served as forest minister in the Kumaraswamy government in the initial stages, while Nagesh, a former Congressman, had contested and won as an Independent after not getting the party ticket in 2018 assembly polls.

In the ministry rejig in December last year, Shankar was dropped from the cabinet.

He, along with Nagesh, had then sided with BJP and written to the Governor, withdrawing support to the government.

As the BJP failed in its alleged attempts to topple the coalition and form the government, the two lawmakers retraced their steps to be back in the ruling alliance.

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