In an apparent move to give stability to his 13-month-old wobbly government , Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy expanded his cabinet by inducting two Independent MLAs .
According to media reports, R Shankar and H Nagesh were sworn in as cabinet ministers, months after they withdrew support to the government and sided with the BJP before making a U-turn to move close to the ruling coalition.
The exercise is seen as a move to quell growing dissent within the coalition and to ensure that the two lawmakers don’t jump the ship once again.
Shankar was inducted from the Congress’ share and Nagesh from the JD(S) quota in the ministry. Under the coalition arrangement, of the total 34 ministerial positions, the Congress and JD(S) have shared 22 and 12 berths respectively.
With the two independents in the government, the coalition strength in the 224-member assembly stands at 118 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-2), besides the Speaker.
The BJP has 105 MLAs.
Prior to the expansion, three posts were vacant– two from JD(S) and one from Congress.
Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan.
Ahead of the swearing-in, Shankar met Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and submitted to him a letter to merge his Karnataka Prajnavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP) with the Congress.