Karnataka: Leaders rush to Sidda, DK’s residence to lobby for positions
After the induction of eight ministers, several Congress leaders rushed towards Siddaramaiah’s residence to lobby for the remaining ministerial berths.
After inducting eight ministers into the cabinet during the swearing-in ceremony of chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar on Saturday, the Congress now faces an uphill task of deciding on the remaining 24 cabinet berths.
On Sunday, several leaders including five-time MLA Krishna Byre Gowda and former minister Basavaraj Rayareddy, among others, were seen thronging the residence of Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar to lobby for ministerial positions.
“I met the chief minister today. Only eight senior leaders of the party have been inducted to the cabinet so far,” Rayareddy said after a meeting. “There is still room for 24 ministers. It is up to the CM, deputy CM and senior leaders of the party to decide this, including my position. I have good experience too, but it is up to them to decide.”
The party would decide on the rest of the cabinet berths in less than week, after considering all factors, including representation from all communities, Rayareddy said. “A full-fledged government should be ready soon,” he added.
Although the Congress was planning to administer oaths of office to 28 ministers to ensure a full-fledged cabinet, only eight were sworn in on Saturday due to internal disagreements between the two camps of Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, party functionaries said, declining to be named. The party was not able to conclude the discussions on all berths due to lack of time, they said.
The list of ministers who were inducted includes G Parameshwara, KH Muniyappa, Priyank Kharge, MB Patil, BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, KJ George, Satish Jarkiholi and Ramalinga Reddy.
Those who have been inducted into the cabinet are seeking plum portfolios, causing a hurdle to expand the cabinet, a party leader aware of the developments said.
“It will definitely happen. First, everyone should become a member. On May 24, members of the new government should be in action. The chief minister and the high command will discuss and take a decision soon,” Shivakumar told reporters on Sunday.
Former Karnataka Pradesh Congress committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao, who had skipped the swearing-in ceremony, was not listed as a cabinet minister. Congress leaders BK Hariprasad and Krishna Byre Gowda, too, were given a miss.
“It would have been better if they had given the cabinet births to 25-28 people at once,” Rao said on Sunday. “A lot of people have worked hard for the party at various levels and in their home districts. I have also won for the sixth time and worked as an MLA for 24 years. But I’ve worked as a minister for only three years.”
Lakshmi Hebbalkar, the Congress MLA from Belagavi, is also hoping for a position in the cabinet. “Of course, I’m interested. All the MLAs are interested. But it’s up to the high command,” Hebbalkar said.
Congress leader and former minister Vinay Kulkarni, who was banned from entering Dharwad district over a murder case, is also confident of securing a cabinet berth. “I’m 100% confident that I’ll get a cabinet berth. They’ve given it to seniors so far. Now, they will have to give it to youths...I have worked as a minister and been a legislator for over 20 years. So, I’m confident,” he said.
Siddaramaiah on Saturday said an assembly session will be convened for three days from May 22, during which the new MLAs will be administered oaths, and a speaker will be elected. Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar will go to Delhi and hold discussions with the high command regarding the cabinet expansion after the assembly session.
Leaders who are eyeing a cabinet berth include Laxman Savadi, Ganesh Hukkeri, HK Patil, C Puttaranga Shetty, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Eshwar Khandre, TB Jayachandra, Rajshekhar Patil, BR Patil, Shivalinge Gowda and HC Mahadevappa, among others.