Karnataka coalition ministry expanded with 25 cabinet ministers

Bengaluru: The JDS-Congress coalition government in Karnataka was expanded on Wednesday, with the induction of 25 legislators as cabinet ministers including 23 from the alliance partners and one BSP MLA and an Independent.

Of the 23 from the alliance, 14 are from Congress and 9 from Janata Dal-Secular (JDS).

Governor Vajubhai R. Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers at Raj Bhavan.

Yesteryears Kannada cine actress and legislative council member Jayamala of the Congress is the lone woman minister in the 27-member ministry.

N. Mahesh of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was also sworn in. The BSP is a pre-poll ally of the JDS. With him, BSP has a minister for the first time in south India and outside its home state Uttar Pradesh.

Independent R. Shankar, who supported the alliance, was also inducted as cabinet minister. Leaving the Congress for denying a ticket to contest in the May 12 assembly election, Shankar defeated former Congress legislator K.B. Koliwad from Ranebennur in Haveri district.

Besides Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JDS and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara of the Congress, senior leaders and several legislators of both the alliance partners and senior officials were present at the hour-long ceremony.

The 14 ministers of the Congress and nine of the JDS took oath in Kannada and in the name of either god, Allah, 14th century Kannadiga social reformer Basavanna and parents.

The Congress ministers were R.V. Deshpande, D.K. Shivakumar, K.J. George, Krishna Byre Gowda, Shiva Shankar Reddy, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Priyank Kharge, U.T. Abdul Khader, Zameer Ahmed Khan, Shivanand Patil, Venkat Ramanappa, Rajasekhar Basavaraj Patil, Puttaranga Shetty and Jayamala.

The JDS ministers are H.D. Revanna, Bandeppa Kashempur, G.T. Deve Gowda, D.C. Thammanna, M.C. Managuli, S.R. Srinivas, Venkatrao Nadegouda, C.S. Puttaraju and S.R. Mahesh.

The state can have a 34-member cabinet, or 15 per cent of the 225-member legislative assembly, including one nominated, as per Constitutional norms.

The coalition partners agreed to share the posts in the ratio of 21 for the Congress, including the post of Deputy Chief Minister and 11 for JDS, including chief minister.

Of the seven vacancies left, five are for the Congress and two for the JDS.

“Kumaraswamy will allocate the portfolios to all the ministers in consultation with the leaders of the respective parties. The list will be sent to the Governor for notifying the posts,” a senior official told IANS here.

The cabinet expansion took place 14 days after Kumaraswamy and Parameshwara were sworn-in on May 23, and 12 days after the Chief Minister won the floor test on May 25 by voice vote, as the opposition BJP staged a walkout in protest against their “unholy alliance”.

Revanna is the second son of JDS supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and elder brother of Kumaraswamy. He represents Holenarsipur assembly segment from Hassan district.

Priyank is the son of Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge from Chittapur in Kalaburgi district.

Deshpande, George, Shivakumar, Byre Gowda, Kharge and Khadar were ministers in the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, while Revanna, Kashempur and G.T. Deve Gowda were ministers in the previous JDS-Congress and JDS-BJP coalition governments from 2004-06 and 2006-07.

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