BENGALURU: Beleaguered Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy will induct two independent MLAs — R Shankar and H Nagesh — into his cabinet at a simple ceremony at 1pm Friday. The cabinet has three vacancies. JD(S) could fill the third vacancy at the last minute with the induction of MLC BM Farooq from Dakshina Kannada.The coalition partners — Congress and JD (S) — are forced to induct independents into the ministry overlooking the claims of a dozen MLAs to save the teetering Kumaraswamy government. Shankar enters the cabinet under the Congress quota. Nagesh fills a JD(S) berth, which fell vacant after the death of minister CS Shivalli. Sources said the Congress had convinced the JD(S) to part with two berths from its quota to bring in independents, and this would allow one Congress MLA to join the cabinet. The JD(S) later did a somersault and argued the coalition partners should share the burden equally. The Congress wanted the berth to go to former minister Ramalinga Reddy or Hirekerur MLA BC Patil. Party insiders claimed JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda was buoyed by the Muslim community’s support in the just-concluded urban local bodies elections. “Hence, Farooq’s last-minute entry is not ruled out,” a source said. There’s a catch, though. The coast already has a representative in UT Khader in the cabinet. “Khader and Farooq are from Dakshina Kannada district. Presence of two minority members in the cabinet could further antagonize majority voters in the coastal areas, which have been supporting the BJP,” a JD(S) source said. Midterm polls in 2020? Congress leader KB Koliwad on Thursday claimed that midterm elections will be held in Karnataka before March 2020 as most leaders didn’t want to continue ties with the JD(S). “Former CM Siddaramaiah, too, has spoken in favour of midterm polls in a meeting with the high command. I’m confident the elections will be held in the first quarter of the next year,” he added.