Karnataka Cabinet Expansion: 22-24 ministers to be inducted tomorrow, last minute talks on
The newly elected Congress government in Karnataka is expected to secure a full state cabinet of up to 24 ministers on Saturday, with the swearing-in ceremony due to start at the Raj Bhavan at 11:45 a.m. There was a a lot of back and forth on the choice of ministers throughout Friday.
Congress Secretary General Randeep Surjewala, Karnataka Party Leader, Head of State and Minister Satish Jarkiholi, and Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that the government had communicated to State Governor Thawarchand Gehlot its intention to the swearing-in ceremony on Saturday.
Sources in Congress said on Friday morning that a list of 24 candidates from all castes and regions had been prepared but could be subject to change at the time of the swearing-in due to efforts by several MPs to lobby for a position in government. .
At first glance, the list given by congressional sources suggested a close combat between Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM DK Shivakumarwho is also the leader of the state Congress, championing the cases of several of their respective loyalists.
Congress has generally opted for young people over veterans in choosing cabinet candidates and has also considered contributions to party work ahead of the election.
The Cabinet has a full complement of 34 ministers and Congress is expected to induct 24 on Saturday, bringing the Cabinet complement to full capacity. Last week, eight ministers were sworn in as well as the CM and deputy CM. A decision on the portfolios is expected on Sunday after the full cabinet is in place.
“About 22 to 24 ministers will be inducted. We don’t have full clarity yet,” incumbent Congress President and Cabinet candidate Eshwar Khandre said on Friday after returning from Delhi.
The Cabinet is expected to consist of up to seven Lingayat ministers, five Vokkaligas including Shivakumar, five Scheduled Caste (SC) community members, two Muslims, two Scheduled Tribe (ST) members, one Lingayat community woman, one Reddy, a Jain, a Maratha, a Rajput, a Christian and up to eight members of the Other Backward Class Groups (OBCs), including Siddaramaiah.
No MLCs are expected to be inducted even though former Vidhan opposition leader Parishad BK Hariprasad and incumbent Congress President Saleem Ahmed were seen as vying for Cabinet posts, Congress insiders said.
Among the sticking points in the list is the likely omission of former Congress head of state Dinesh Gundu Rao, considered close to Siddaramaiah, and the inclusion of Dr Sudhakar, a Jain considered close to Shivakumar.
The Cabinet to meet with five ministers from the Bengaluru region – Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout MLA), KJ George (Sarvagnanagar) and Zameer Ahmed (Chamarajpet) were sworn in while Krishna Byregowda (Bytarayanapura) and Byrathi Suresh (Hebbal) are likely to be inducted on Saturday – Dinesh Gundu Rao (Gandhinagar MLA) would be in danger of losing. But the former head of the state’s Congress, who is from the Brahmin community, was still trying to work his way into the final slate, congressional sources said.
Similarly, NA Harris, a Muslim MP from Bengaluru associated with Shivakumar, is likely to be edged out for the second available Muslim slot in the Cabinet by Rahim Khan of Bidar North. Harris is an MP for Shanthinagar in Bengaluru. Notable for their absence from the preliminary list were congressional veterans such as RV Deshpande and TB Jayachandra.
Likely new ministers among the Lingayats according to Congress sources are Lakshmi Hebbalkar (Belagavi Rural MLA), Shivanagouda Patil (Basavana Bagewadi), Eshwar Khandre (Bhalki), Sharan Prakash Patil (Sedam), Sharanabasappa Darshanapur (Shahapur) and Basavaraj Rayaraddi ( Yelburga). Siddaramaiah senior and associate leader MB Patil, a Lingayat, was inducted last week. There was a possibility that Davangere MLA SS Mallikarjun would replace Rayararaddi, congressional sources said.
Likely new ministers among the Vokkaligas are N Cheluvaraya Swamy (Nagamangala), K Venkatesh (Periyapatna), Dr MC Sudhakar (Chintamani) and Krishna Byregowda (Byatarayanapura).
The likely new ministers from the SC-ST groups are Shivaraj Tangadagi (Kanakagiri), B Nagendra (Bellary Rural), Rudrappa Lamani (Haveri) and HC Mahadevappa (T Narasipura). Last week, Congress inducted three Dalit leaders into the Cabinet. They were G Parameshwara, KH Muniyappa and Priyank Kharge. The party also inducted ST leader Satish Jarkiholi last week.
Likely new ministers among OBCs and other communities are Byrathi Suresh (Hebbal), KN Rajanna (Madhugiri), C Puttarangashetty (Chamarajnagar), Mankal Vaidya (Bhatkal), Madhu Bangarappa (Sorab), D Sudhakar (Hiriyur), Santosh Lad (Kalghatgi) and Ajay Singh (Jewargi).
There have been demands from Lingayat, Vokkaliga, Dalit, OBC and minority communities for greater representation in the Congress Cabinet due to their contribution to the formation of the Congress government.
Out of a total of 36 seats reserved for Dalits, Congress won 21 and out of the 15 seats reserved for STs, Congress won 14. Congress also won 37 of the 48 seats where it fielded Lingayat candidates, nine of the 15 constituencies where he fielded Muslims, 21 of the 43 seats where the Vokkaligas were aligned and 10 of the 15 seats with OBC Kuruba candidates.