At least 20-24 new ministers are likely to be inducted into the Karnataka Cabinet on Saturday as talks between Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy D K Shivakumar are in progress in Delhi.
The state leaders arrived in the national capital on Thursday for talks regarding cabinet expansion. Both Siddharamaiah and Shivakumar met Congress general secretary in-charge for state Randeep Surjewala and the party’s general secretary K C Venugopal. They also met 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, said reports.
"Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have been actively lobbying for their trusted supporters to be included in the cabinet. Kharge has cancelled his meetings for Friday to finish the deliberations," a senior Congress leader told Hindustan Times on conditions of anonymity.
Despite the duo and eight other ministers swearing in, there was a delay in cabinet expansion as differences cropped up between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar over names of probable ministers with both pushing the case of MLAs close to them. Eight ministers who have been sworn in haven't been allocated portfolios yet.
Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 ministers and the Congress will find it difficult to accommodate all the aspirants.
Sources told PTI that only the names of MLAs who represented all sections and were senior most have been cleared by the High Command. The list included people who faced no objections from any side.
The names on the probable list include Krishna Byre Gowda, Laxman Savadi, Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Saleem Ahmed, Santosh Lad, Dinesh Gundu Rao, HK Patil, Eshwar Khandre, Tanveer Seth, Dr H.C.Mahadevappa, BK Reddy and BK Hariprasad.
There are also speculations that a sizable chunk of ministers will be from the Lingayat community, who voted in favour of the party.
Recently, the BJP traded barbs with Congress over the delay in choosing ministers. Former chief minister and BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai had recently questioned the delay in selecting ministers but Congress retorted by stating that former Cheif Minister B S Yediyurappa too was alone in the cabinet for days before the ministers were chosen.