Rahul Gandhi shakes hands with new Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

25 Karnataka Cabinet Ministers Take Oath; Unrest In Congress Camp

After two weeks of uncertainty, new ministers from the Congress-JD(S) coalition were sworn in to the Karnataka cabinet on Wednesday, 6 June. Twenty five ministers were inducted into the cabinet, including 13 Congress MLAs, 1 Congress MLC, 9 JD(S) MLAs, 1 BSP MLA and 1 independent MLA.

In the Congress camp, DK Shivakumar, RV Deshpande, KJ George, Krishna Byre Gowda, NH Shivashankar Reddy, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Priyank Kharge, UT Khader, Zameer Amhad Khan, Shivanand Patil, Venkataramanappa, Rajashekar Basavaraj Patil, and C Puttarangashetty took oath. One Congress MLC Jayamala was also sworn in as a minister.

In the JD(S) camp, 8 ministers took oath – HD Revanna, Bandeppa Kashempur, GT Deve Gowda, DC Thammanna, MC Managuli, SR Srinivas, Venkatrao Nadagouda, CS Puttaraju and SR Ramesh.

Mayawati’s BSP, which had entered a pre-poll alliance with the JD(S), got its first minister in Karnataka. N Mahesh is the first BSP leader to hold a ministerial portfolio outside Uttar Pradesh.

R Shankar, an independent candidate who supported the coalition was also offered a cabinet berth.

Portfolio Allocation to be Announced Soon

According to the terms of the post-poll alliance, 22 cabinet berths were given to the Congress and 12 cabinet positions were given to the JD(S).

While the Home, Irrigation, Health, Agriculture and Women Child Welfare portfolios were among the prominent portfolios given to the Congress, the JD(S) have been offered the crucial portfolios, which include Finance and Excise, Public Works Department, Education, Tourism and Transport departments.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will announce the names of the ministers who will helm these departments on within 2-3 days, as told to reporters by Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara.

Congress Leaders Left Disgruntled

Although the leaders of both parties insisted that the portfolio allocation hasn’t resulted in any rifts in the alliance, the cabinet expansion saw several Congress leaders, including former ministers in Congress government like MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi and Roshan Baig, express their displeasure.

MB Patil, the former water resources minister and the flagbearer for the campaign for separate Lingayat religion was among those denied a cabinet post.

Hours before the cabinet expansion, his followers marched in protest against the government in front of Patil’s house in Bengaluru. In his address to the media, Patil said he will talk to the party high command before taking further steps.

Roshan Baig, another minister who served in the previous Congress government approached JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda before the swearing-in. According to reports, he expressed disappointment at being denied a cabinet berth and also objected to the appointment of Zameer Ahmad, a JD(S) leader who joined the Congress before the elections, as a minister.

Yet another senior Congress leader who expressed his displeasure was Satish Jarkiholi. Satish, a North Karnataka strongman had played a crucial role in ensuring former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s victory in Badami. He was sidelined during the cabinet selection and his brother Ramesh Jarkiholi was offered a cabinet post instead.

According to sources, Satish is now planning to resign from his post.

Party sources said that senior leaders will hold meetings with the disgruntled leaders to help explain their rationale for the cabinet selection.