Karnataka Cabinet expansion | Nine first-timers including one woman make it to Siddaramaiah-led ministry

Karnataka Cabinet expansion | Nine first-timers including one woman make it to Siddaramaiah-led ministry

Laxmi Hebbalkar is the only woman in the 34-member Cabinet, which has done a balancing act in terms of castes and communities.
| Photo Credit: D.B. Patil

The Congress government in Karnataka is all set to get its second expansion with the swearing-in ceremony of 24 Ministers on Saturday at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.

One not a member

Of the 24, 23 are MLAs and N.S. Boseraju is not a member of either Houses of the Karnataka legislature. The Cabinet will reach its full strength of 34 after 24 Ministers take oath at 11.45 a.m.

Laxmi Hebbalkar, elected from Belagavi Rural constituency, is the lone woman MLA to make it to the Ministry headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The MLAs to take oath from Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot on Saturday are: H.K. Patil, Krishna Byre Gowda, N. Cheluvarayaswamy, K. Venkatesh, H.C. Mahadevappa, Eshwar Khandre, K.N. Rajanna, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Sharanabasappa Darshanapur, Shivananda Patil, Thimmapur Ramappa Balappa, S.S. Mallikarjun, Shivaraj Tangadagi, Sharanaprakash Rudrappa Patil, Mankal Vaidya, Laxmi Hebbalkar, Rahim Khan, D. Sudhakar, Santosh S. Lad, Byrathi Suresh, Madhu Bangarappa, M.C. Sudhakar, and B. Nagendra.

AICC secretary Boseraju had served as two-time MLA and one-time MLC, though he is currently not a member of either House. A good number of loyalists of Mr. Siddaramaiah appear to have made it to the Ministry.

Ms. Hebbalkar, Mr. Venkatesh, Mr. Byrathi Suresh, Mr. Madhu Bangarappa, Mr. Sudhakar, Mr. Mankal Vaidya, Mr. Rajanna, Mr. Boseraju and Mr. Nagendra will become Ministers for the first time.

Caste combination

In the 34-member Cabinet, there are six Vokkaligas, eight Veerashaiva-Lingayats, six OBCs, six from Scheduled Castes, three from Scheduled Tribes, two Muslims and one each from Jain, Brahmin and Christian communities. MLAs belonging to various sects within the Veerashaiva-Lingayat have been accommodated. The allocations have been made to various sections keeping in mind the next year’s Lok Sabha elections, which was a hard balancing act.

After several rounds of talks with party’s Central leaders, Mr. Siddaramaiah and his deputy D.K. Shivakumar reached a consensus on names. They held talks in Delhi with AICC chief M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress general secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal and Karnataka in-charge general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala.

On Saturday last, Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Shivakumar and eight Ministers had taken oath in the first round. However, there has been no allocation of portfolios, which has drawn flak from the BJP. The Congress had countered it making a reference to the weeks during the 2019 floods when the then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa was the only Minister in the Cabinet.

Those left out

Senior leader and MLC B.K. Hariprasad was reportedly upset for denying him berth.  Former Deputy Chief Minister Laxam Savadi who quit the BJP and joined the Congress just ahead of polls did not make it. Prominent among those who missed out are also T.B. Jayachandra and R.V. Deshpande.

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