Senior leaders of the Karnataka Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) met in Bengaluru on Wednesday amid reports of rift between the coalition partners, ANI reported. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Congress state chief Dinesh Gundu Rao, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Congress minister DK Shivakumar were among those present.
There was also speculation about a Cabinet reshuffle to save the coalition government. Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Ghulam Nabi Azad are expected to meet party leaders and legislators later in the day, PTI reported. The Congress Legislature Party is expected to meet later in the day.
Out of 34 Cabinet ministers in the state, the Congress has 22 ministers and the HD Deve Gowda-12. Three posts are currently vacant – two from the Janata Dal (Secular) and one from the Congress. “It is not a reshuffle but a kind of expansion as there are three vacancies and some dissatisfied MLAs will be accommodated,” Congress leader and chairperson of the coalition coordination committee Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday.
The coalition government in the state has been vulnerable since it was formed in May 2018 and speculation of its collapse have surfaced every now and then. Former Congress MLA KN Rajanna on Monday had claimed that the coalition government will collapse by June 10.
Congress MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and Sudhakar recently met BJP leaders at SM Krishna’s home. However, they later claimed their visit was not political. Jarkiholi had earlier threatened to resign from the party along with some MLAs after the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP has 105 MLAs in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, while the coalition has 116 MLAs and the support of two Independents and a Bahujan Samaj Party MLA. In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won bagged 25 of the 28 seats in the state.