Within hours of the swearing-in, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka gave in-principle approval for the five guarantees the party had made in its election manifesto.
The swearing-in ceremony at the jampacked Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday, 20 May, was also a show of strength of anti-NDA Opposition parties from across the country.
Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot administered the oath of office and secrecy to Siddaramaiah, KPCC chief DK Shivakumar, and eight other Cabinet ministers.
“We will govern as per the expectation of the people of Karnataka,” Siddaramaiah said after taking oath as the 29th chief minister — his second time at the helm — of Karnataka.
In the 10 May Karnataka Assembly polls, the Congress registered a stellar victory by winning 135 seats, 22 more than the simple majority of 113 seats.
In-principle nod for five guarantees
“People have sought a change in the state. The guarantees and promises made will be implemented today itself and a government order will be issued to implement them,” Siddaramaiah said.
“We will also implement all the promises made in the party’s manifesto over the next five years. In the past, we delivered on our promises. We will deliver all promises made to the people of Karnataka,” he reiterated.
Soon after the swearing-in ceremony, Siddaramaiah held his first Cabinet meeting at the Vidhana Soudha. The Cabinet discussed the implementation of the five guarantees made in the manifesto.
After the meeting, the chief minister met reporters.
“I have given in-principal approval for the implementation of the five guarantees. These guarantees will be implemented soon after the next Cabinet meeting,” he said.
“ಕಾನೂನಿನ ಮೂಲಕ ಸ್ಥಾಪಿತವಾದ ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸಂವಿಧಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಜವಾದ ಶ್ರದ್ಧೆ ಮತ್ತು ನಿಷ್ಠೆ ಹೊಂದಿರುತ್ತೇನೆಂದು, ಭಾರತದ ಸಾರ್ವಭೌಮತ್ವ ಮತ್ತು ಅಖಂಡತೆಯನ್ನು ಎತ್ತಹಿಡಿಯುತ್ತೇನೆಂದು,
ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳಾಗಿ ನನ್ನ ಕರ್ತವ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಶ್ರದ್ಧಾಪೂರ್ವಕವಾಗಿ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಕರಣಪೂರ್ವಕವಾಗಿ ನಿರ್ವಹಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆಂದು, ಭಯ ಅಥವಾ… pic.twitter.com/f4rJmRunan
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) May 20, 2023
Victory of seven crore people: Siddaramaiah
“The Congress win is also the victory of the seven crore Kannadigas. With all their blessings the grand old party has come to power,” he said.
Siddaramaiah recalled the campaign, saying it began with former AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which passed through Karnataka in September and October.
“From Rahul Gandhi to Priyank Gandhi Vadra to Mallikarjun Kharge and many national leaders campaigned for the party,” he said.
“I will express my heartfelt gratitude to each one of them. I will also thank writers, thinkers, organisations and their leaders, and everyone who supported the party. I will specifically thank women, youth, farmers, and labourers,” the chief minister said.
However, no woman was sworn in on Saturday.
Show of strength
The collective strength and unity of the Congress and anti-NDA Opposition parties were on full display at the swearing-in ceremony.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader MK Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (U) leader Nitesh Kumar, his deputy and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, and Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren attended the event.
— Congress (@INCIndia) May 20, 2023
Chief ministers of Congress-ruled states, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi (Himachal Pradesh), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) were also present.
Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, Peoples Democratic Party head Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference chief Farooq Abdulla, actor-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam head Kamal Hassan, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, Revolutionary Socialist Party leader and Kollam MP NK Premachandran, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)’s Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi attended the ceremony.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee did not attend the event. However, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, the deputy leader of the TMC in the Lok Sabha, represented the party.
Incidentally, there was a similar show of strength by the Opposition parties during the oath-taking ceremony of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in 2018.
Truth prevailed: Rahul Gandhi
“The people of Karnataka defeated BJP’s hatred and corruption in the Assembly elections,” senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said while addressing the crowd at Kanteerava Stadium.
“I had said that we don’t make false promises. We do what we say. The first Cabinet meeting of the new government will take place in one to two hours. In that meeting, all the five guarantees will become law,” he said.
These guarantees were Gruha Jyoti (200 units of free power to all households), Gruha Lakshmi (₹2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family), Anna Bhagya (10 kg of free rice to every member of BPL households), Yuva Nidhi (₹3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth and ₹1,500 for unemployed diploma holders — both in the age group of 18-25 for two years) and Shakti (free travel for women in public transport buses).
“The Congress won the election because it had the truth and the backing of poor people whereas the BJP had money, power, and police,” Gandhi added.
“However, the people defeated the BJP, its corruption, and hatred. As we had said during our padayatra, love won over hatred. In the market of hatred, a store of love is now open.”
“We understand the sufferings you underwent in the past five years. The media wrote about why the Congress won the election. Various analyses and theories were floated. However, the reason for the victory was that the Congress stood by the poor, weaker sections and backward communities, Dalits, and tribals,” he said.
He also expressed his gratitude to the people of Karnataka for their wholehearted support of the Congress.
Kharge lambasts ‘note bandi’
AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the withdrawal of ₹2,000 currency notes from circulation, terming it another note bandi to trouble the people.
“Modi has issued another order. Whenever he goes to Japan, he will issue a note bandi notification and go. When he went to Japan last time, he banned ₹1,000 currency notes. This time when he has gone, he has withdrawn the circulation of ₹2,000 notes,” Kharge said.
Calling the Congress government in Karnataka “a government of love”, he said, “All five promises made to the people ahead of polls will be implemented.”
“We will not say something and do something else as the BJP. We will walk the talk,” Kharge assured.
Celebration of democracy
The 25,810-seat capacity Kanteerava Stadium was jam-packed by the supporters and followers of the Congress.
Thousands of people from Bidar to Chamarajanagar to Belagavi to Chikkaballapur voluntarily participated in the one-hour ceremony.
Reportedly, more than 50,000 people attended the event. Thousands of supporters stood in the stands and cheered for the Congress.
“I have been an adherent follower of Congress since my college days. In 2013, I couldn’t witness Siddaramaiah taking oath as the chief minister,” an elated Srinivasgowda, a farmer from Chikballapur’s Bagepalli, told South First.
“I didn’t miss this time. This is one of the most cherished moments in my life to witness our leader Siddaramaiah taking oath as the chief minister. I have come with my friends and family,” he added.