Karnataka cabinet expanded as 25 ministers take oath, portfolios yet to be announced
Of the 25 newly inducted ministers, 11 are from the Old Mysuru region, three each from Bengaluru City and Coastal Karnataka regions, and four each from the Hyderabad-Karnataka and Mumbai-Karnataka regions.Updated: Jun 07, 2018 07:30 IST
The 15-day-old HD Kumaraswamy cabinet in Karnataka was expanded on Wednesday with the induction of 25 ministers -- 14 from the Congress, nine from Janata Dal (Secular) or JD (S) and one each from the Bahujan Samaj Party and the KPJP.
While forming the alliance government, both parties had agreed to share the 34 portfolios in the ratio of 2:1, with the Congress getting 22 and the JD(S) 12, including the chief minister’s post. Along with chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, the cabinet strength stands at 27 at present. However, the portfolios of the ministers have not yet been announced.
Of the 25 newly inducted ministers, 11 are from the Old Mysuru region, three each from Bengaluru City and Coastal Karnataka regions, and four each from the Hyderabad-Karnataka and Mumbai-Karnataka regions.
The JD(S), reputed to be a party dominated by Vokkaligas, named six from the community among its ministers. The Congress has named two from the community, taking the tally for representatives from the community to nine (including the CM), the highest for any caste.
While much of the election campaign had focused on the previous government’s decision to accord minority religion status to the Lingayat sect, only four from the community took oath, two each from the JD(S) and Congress.
Three Dalits, one MLA from the Scheduled Tribe and four from Other Backward Class communities became ministers. Among minorities, one Christian and two Muslims took oath on the day.
Among the 25, only one woman took oath. Congress leader and film star Jayamala, a member of the Legislative Council, became the only woman to take oath as the minister.
N Mahesh became the first BSP MLA to become a minister outside the state of Uttar Pradesh. Among those who took oath, he was the only one to swear in the name of Dr BR Ambedkar and Gautama Budha. He was also one of three MLAs who took oath in the name of Basavanna.
This Kumaraswamy cabinet also saw 13 first-time ministers. The lone Independent MLA, R Shankar, became a minister on his first stint as MLA.
The supporters of senior leaders who missed out on ministerial posts protested against their exclusion. They are former ministers HK Patil and MB Patil, who hail from the Mumbai-Karnataka region. Additionally, senior JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti, a Lingayat MLC who hails from the Mumbai-Karnataka region, also expressed displeasure over his exclusion.
At present, there are six vacancies in the Congress’ share of ministries and one in the JD(S).
Political analyst Narayana A said with the cabinet expansion exercise is not yet complete it would be premature to draw definitive conclusions. “Two significant trends do emerge, the overrepresentation of Vokkaligas and the bias towards the Old Mysuru region,” he said.
On the question of Vokkaligas, Narayana said, this was because the JD(S) was a predominantly Vokkaliga party, as witnessed by six of those sworn in by the party hailing from the community. “The over-representation of ministers from the Old Mysuru region was similarly unavoidable because both parties won more seats in the region as against the other regions of the state,” he said.
Narayana said the onus was now on the Congress to ensure a more representative council of ministers. “Be it in terms of ticket distribution or cabinet berths it is the Congress that is always in a bind as it draws support from across the state. These problems do not necessarily exist in this manner for the JD(S) or the BJP, which are concentrated in some regions.”