New Delhi / Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar reached the national capital Wednesday evening, while Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is expected to arrive late at night, with the two likely to meet the top Congress leadership to discuss cabinet expansion.
After landing here, Shivakumar told reporters that it was a ”normal routine visit” and that he will meet senior party leaders to discuss issues concerning the state. ”We have to finish our cabinet (expansion) as early as possible. That is in process. My chief minister is also coming,” he said.
He said they will meet the top leadership including Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.
Sources said the chief minister is expected to arrive late at night. Rejecting rumours of a rift within the party, Shivakumar said, ”As the party president (Karnataka), I am telling you that nothing is there, no internal issues are there.” On being asked about supporters of Congress MLA D Sudhakar staging a protest outside Siddaramaiah’s house, Shivakumar said, ”(It’s) quite natural. All of the workers (of the party) want to become ministers.”
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Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively, along with eight ministers on May 20. Portfolios have not been allocated to the ministers yet.
According to Congress sources, the party high command approved the first list of eight ministers against the earlier plan of inducting a much higher number of legislators into the cabinet.
This was done as there were allegedly differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar over some names, during discussions held last week in Delhi ahead of swearing-in ceremony.
Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 ministers, and the Congress will find it difficult to accommodate all the aspirants.