Free Press Journal

Kumaraswamy expands Cabinet, amid heartburn


 Bengaluru : Amidst heartburns and threats of resignations, the 15-day-old HD Kumaraswamy ministry in Karnataka was expanded on Wednesday with the induction of 25 ministers.

Of the 25 who found their place in the Cabinet, 14 are from Congress, nine from its ruling coalition partner JD(S) and one each from the BSP and Karnataka Pragnavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP).

Till the last minute, changes were made both in Congress and JD(S) list as pressure mounted from MLAs. Finally, just minutes before the swearing-in ceremony at 2.12 pm, Governor Vajubhai Vala got the list and administered the oath of office and secrecy at a muted ceremony at Raj Bhavan.

Among those inducted were JD(S) heavyweight HD Revanna, son of former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and his arch rival, state senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar. It was a sort of embarrassment for former CM Siddaramaiah as G T Deve Gowda of JD(S) took oath. He emerged as a giant killer defeating Siddaramaiah in the Chamundeshwari constituency by a whopping margin. Congress MLC Jayamala, the lone woman minister, was a surprise choice.

Many MLAs in the JD(S) are upset and had threatened to resign. But Kumaraswamy managed to convince them that things would be rectified.

Senior leaders in the Congress were also upset at the High Command of stooping too much to conquer and convince the JD(S), its much junior partner. These leaders are upset at the assurance and promise made that Kumaraswamy would continue as CM for five full years. “This is like offering Karnataka on a platter to the JD(S),” a senior leader said.

As per the power-sharing arrangement, Congress will have 22 ministers and the JD(S) 12. With today’s expansion, the strength of the ministry has gone up to 27, leaving seven more vacancies to be filled.

On May 23, JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy took oath as chief minister while Congress state president G Parameshwara was sworn in as his deputy.

The Congress ministers are: RV Deshpande, DK Shivakumar, KJ George, Krishna Byregowda, Shivashankar Reddy, Ramesh Jarkhiholi, Priyank Kharge, UT Khader, BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, Puttaranga Shetty, Jayamala, R Shankar, Shivananda Patil, Venkataramanappa and Rajashekar Patil Humnabad.

JD(S) has HD Revanna, GT Deve Gowda, Bandeppa Kashempur, MC Manuguli, Gubbi Sreenivas, Venkatrao Nadagouda, Sa Ra Mahesh, N Mahesh and DC Thamanna.