Eight Congress Leaders Sworn Into Karnataka Cabinet Ahead Of National Polls, Two Removed
Bengaluru: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala swore in eight ministers into the state cabinet today, in keeping with the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government’s cabinet expansion plan.
All the new inductees — Satish Jarkhiholi, Rahim Khan, Shivalli, MTB Nagaraj, Tukaram, MB Patil, Parmeshwar Nayak and RB Thimmapur — are from the Congress. The party has also removed two ministers — Municipal Administration Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and Forests Minister R Shankar — from the cabinet.
The event, however, did not pass without incident. Even as the ceremony was taking place, supporters of Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy protested near the Raj Bhavan to demand his induction into the cabinet. Mr Reddy had held important portfolios such as home and transport in the previous government.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah had earlier sent the names to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his approval. This move is in accordance with a December 5 coordination committee decision enabling the Congress to fill up its share of 22 berths in the 34-member state ministry. “The governor graciously agreed to expand the cabinet at such a short notice by holding the swearing-in ceremony around 5.20 pm on Saturday,” Mr Kumaraswamy said.
Apart from this, 19 MLAs have been appointed as chairpersons of various corporations, and nine given the post of parliamentary secretaries.
“The cabinet expansion-cum-reshuffle decision was taken in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, so there is proper caste and regional representation from across the state,” news agency IANS quoted an official as saying.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy told reporters at Belagavi in northwest Karnataka that party head HD Deve Gowda would decide on the legislators to fill its party’s two cabinet vacancies. “We have no problem in selecting our members for the two remaining cabinet posts,” he said. The Janata Dal (Secular)’s share of seats in the cabinet is 12.
The Janata Dal (Secular) had entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party. N Mahesh, the only MLA from the Mayawati-led party, was inducted into the cabinet in the first expansion but resigned in October citing personal reasons.