Karnataka Cabinet expansion: Balancing act gives Congress 24 new names from varied backgrounds

Meanwhile, former minister Puttarangashetty is expected to be the deputy speaker, taking oath with the others on 27 May.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 27, 2023 | 1:10 AMUpdatedMay 27, 2023 | 1:11 AM

Congress Rahul Gandhi Siddaramaiah

A week after assuming power in Karnataka, the Congress on Friday, 26 May, released the list of 24 legislators who will be sworn in as ministers to fill up all the vacant ministerial positions.

The Cabinet expansion will take place on Saturday with their swearing-in ceremony, according to Congress leaders.

The Karnataka government can have 34 ministers. While 10 of them — including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar — were sworn in on 20 March, the rest will be inducted on Saturday.

Also read: Karnataka Cabinet does away with 4% reservation for Muslims

Well-distributed choices

Senior MLA HK Patil, Krishna Byregowda, N Cheluvarayaswamy, K Venkatesh, HC Mahadevappa, Congress working president Eshwar Khandre, and former Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao are among those who will take the oath on Saturday.

Others who will make it to the Karnataka Cabinet are Kyathasandra N Rajanna, Sharanabasappa Darshanapur, Shivanand Patil, Ramappa Balappa Timmapur, SS Mallikarjun, Shivaraj Sangappa Tangadagi, Sharanaprakash Rudrappa Patil, Mankal Vaidya, Laxmi Hebbalkar, Rahim Khan, D Sudhakar, Santosh Lad, NS Boseraju, Suresha BS, former chief minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu Bangarappa, MC Sudhakar, and B Nagendra.

According to Congress sources, Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Madhu Bangarappa, D Sudhakar, Cheluvaraya Swami, Mankul Vaidya, and MC Sudhakar are considered close to Shivakumar.

The list figures the names of six Lingayats and four Vokkaligas.

Three MLAs are from Scheduled Castes, two from Scheduled Tribes and five from Other Backward Communities — Kuruba, Raju, Maratha, Ediga, and Mogaveera. In Dinesh Gundu Rao, Brahmins have also got representation.

Meanwhile, Laxmi Hebbalkar is lone woman in 34-member Siddaramaiah Cabinet, while Rahim Khan is the only Muslim.

Seven ministers each are from Old Mysuru and Kalyana Karnataka regions, six from Kittur Karnataka region and two from central Karnataka.

Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have been in the national capital for the last three days and they have held several rounds of discussions.

The decision was finalised after hours of parleys between Siddaramaih and his deputy Shivakumar with top central leaders including AICC general secretaries KC 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 Karnataka.

Earlier, the two Karnataka leaders also met Sonia Gandhi — for the first time after government formation in the state.

Differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar emerged over names of probable ministers, but these were sorted out during the discussions, the sources said.

Also read: Karnataka schoolteacher suspended for criticising Siddaramaiah

What happens next?

Among the first eight cabinet ministers who took oath last week, three are from Scheduled Caste, while one each is from the Vokkaliga, Muslim, Lingayat, Christian, and Reddy communities, and one is from a Scheduled Tribe.

As many as eight ministers will be from Kalyana Karnataka, seven each from Kittur Karnataka, Old Mysore, and Bengaluru, three from Central Karnataka and one from Coastal Karnataka. This does not include Siddaramaiah himself.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders like Haliyal MLA RV Deshpande and MLC B K Hariprasad missed out on Cabinet berths.

All the leaders left for Bengaluru from New Delhi 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.

The portfolios have not been allotted yet. However, according to minister KH Muniyappa, the portfolios of the ministers will be announced by Saturday evening.

(With PTI inputs)