Siddaramaiah takes oath as Karnataka CM, DK Shivakumar as deputy CM amid show of strength

Siddaramaiah takes oath as Karnataka CM, DK Shivakumar as deputy CM amid show of strength

Congress leaders, politicians from across the country attended the ceremony to show a united opposition to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Shankar RajUpdated: Saturday, May 20, 2023, 09:00 PM IST
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Siddaramaiah sworn in as CM of Karnataka, DK Shivakumar as Deputy CM in Bengaluru stadium | ANI

Congress leader Siddaramaiah was sworn in as chief minister of Karnataka and state party president DK Shivakumar as deputy chief minister in a grand show of opposition unity on Saturday.

Eight legislators, including Priyank Kharge, the son of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, G Parameshwara, KH Muniyappa, KJ George, MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, Ramalinga Reddy, and BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan also joined Siddaramaiah and DKS in taking the oath of office exactly a week after the party swept the Assembly elections in Karnataka.

“We will give an administration that people expect from us. Five guarantees will be passed in the cabinet meeting and an order will be issued to implement them today itself,” Siddaramaiah said soon after taking oath.

“We will walk the talk. We will implement all five guarantees,” Mallikarjun Kharge said.

Principle approval for implementing the five schemes promised in the election manifesto

Later in the evening, the chief minister said that the first cabinet meeting has given its in principle approval for implementing the five schemes promised in the election manifesto of the Congress. “The details are being worked out. The next cabinet meeting will be held next week,” he said.

However, though all seems well for the Congress on the surface, the party is aware that the bigger challenge will be to ensure a smooth working arrangement between Siddaramaiah and DKS, who have strong views and stronger egos.

Tough to keep a check on a parallel power centre

For Siddaramaiah it is hard to imagine a deputy chief minister and when the person in the post is his arch rival DKS, it will be tough to keep a check on a parallel power centre. Siddaramaiah and DKS are reportedly bargaining for an equal share in appointing the cabinet, whose strength is capped at 34. This problem is compounded by some neutral camps lobbying for cabinet berths.

Problems are bound to arise when it comes to the two leaders seeking greater representation and plum portfolios for their supporters. Even the state bureaucracy is waiting to see how the dynamics will play out. “With Shivakumar as the Deputy CM, we will enter uncharted territory,” a senior IAS officer was quoted as saying in the media.

The high command is likely to give Randeep Singh Surjewala, the general secretary in charge of Karnataka, the task of ensure that there are no skirmishes between the chief minister and his deputy.

30-30 formula of rotational power-sharing down the line

Another plan on the table is to implement the 30-30 formula of rotational power-sharing down the line. After the first 30 months, the ministers would have to make way for a fresh batch by January 2026 when Shivakumar is expected to head the state and effect a reshuffle of the cabinet.

The formula would also apply to boards and corporations, which will get new chiefs in early 2026, sources said, adding that this would help address the dissidence that might crop up because of disgruntlement from those left out in the first instance of government-formation exercise.

KPCC vice-president BL Shankar urged the high command to strictly implement the rotation formula. “Party discipline says we should not discuss internal matters in public. However, we can say the split-tenure formula is very much in the interest of the party. Those who are getting an opportunity now should gracefully make way for others after 30 months,” Shankar was quoted as saying in the media.

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