Karnataka Cabinet expansion: As many as 24 legislators were inducted into the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka after a series of meetings held in the last two days in Delhi. Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administered them the oath of office today.
Differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar emerged over names of probable ministers with both pushing the case of MLAs close to them. Finally, Congress managed to iron out the differences and released the name of the minister. Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 ministers and the Congress will find it difficult to accommodate all the aspirants.
After two days of hectic deliberations, the Congress finalised the names of new members of the Karnataka Cabinet led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. They said the decision was finalised after hours of parleys between Siddaramaih and his deputy D K Shivakumar with top central leaders including AICC general secretaries K C Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi gave their final nod to the list which balances caste and regional equations in the southern state. As many as eight ministers along with the chief minister and his deputy have already taken oath in Karnataka on May 20.
Aimed at balanced caste equation
The sources said the expanded cabinet will have four new ministers belonging to the Lingayat community and an equal number from the Vokkaliga community, besides two each from among scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, one from the Muslim community, a Brahmin and a woman.
According to the sources, the list of probable ministers who are likely to take oath on Saturday include Dinesh Gundu Rao, Krishna Byre Gowda, Eshwar Khandre, Raheem Khan, Santosh Lad, K N Rajanna, Peeriyapattana Venkatesh, H C Mahadevappa, Byrathi Suresh, C Puttarangashetty, Shivaraj Tangadi, R B Timmpur and B Nagendra, all of whom are considered close to Siddaramaiah.
The sources added that Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Madhu Bangarappa, D Sudhakar, Cheluvaraya Swami, Mankul Vaidya and M C Sudhakar are also among the list of ministers included in the expanded cabinet, all of whom are considered close to Shivakumar.
They added that the list of new ministers will also include HK Patil, Sharanprakash Patil, Shivanana Patil, SS Mallikarjuna, besides Sharanbasappa Darshanapura, approved by the party high command.
Besides, the name of N S Boseraju, who is the lone MLC, has also been approved in the list of new ministers to be included in the state cabinet. Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have been in the national capital for the last three days and they have held several rounds of discussions. The final list was approved after discussions with Kharge and Rahul Gandhi.
Earlier, the two Karnataka leaders also met Sonia Gandhi, for the first time after government formation in the state. Meanwhile, all the leaders left for Bengaluru for the oath-taking ceremony of the new ministers. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren also left with Shivakumar and Surjewala for Saturday's event.