Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s government will have another 24 ministers who will take oath on Saturday, sources have said. The names have been finalised in the meeting between Mr Siddaramaiah, his deputy DK Shivakumar and Central leaders of the party in Delhi, sources have said. The Chief Minister will meet Rahul Gandhi on Friday for a sign-off.
On May 20, Siddaramaiah and state Congress President DK Shivakumar took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.
Eight MLAs — including Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge — also took oath along with them for ministerial posts.
There, however, has been no allocation of portfolios till now — a situation that has drawn jeers from the BJP. The Congress has countered it with a reference to the weeks during the pandemic when then Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa was the only minister in the cabinet.
The drawing up of minister’s list or allocation of portfolios will be a tricky job for the Congress given the need to balance and represent various communities.
The most politically crucial community in the state, the Lingayats, had staked claim to the Chief Minister’s post, citing their big contribution to the Congress victory.
In absence of a Lingayat Chief Minister, there is speculation that a chunk of ministerial berths will go to MLAs from the community.
With general elections due next year, the Congress is also under pressure to show quick results and deliver on the promises it made before the elections.
Karnataka sends 28 MPs to the Lok Sabha, which makes it a major battleground state.
New minister Priyank Kharge today made it clear that the new Congress government intends to review policies of the previous BJP government and “set it right” – raising speculation that decisions on the Muslim quota, hijab ban and the anti-conversion law are due for a rollback.
“Any bill, executive order, or government order or any other bills that are regressive to the economic policies of Karnataka, that does not create employment, that creates disharmony in the state will be reviewed or rejected, if necessary,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
The Congress won a huge victory in Karnataka earlier this month, winning 135 of the state’s 224 seats. The BJP, which was ruling the state, won 66 and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular 19 seats.
The Congress had also upped its vote share from 38.1 per cent in 2018 to 42.9 per cent. The difference came from JD(S) votes, which slid from 18.3 to 13.3 per cent. The BJP maintained its 36 per cent vote share from 2018.