After two days of hectic deliberations, the Congress finalised the names of new members of the Karnataka cabinet led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and 24 more ministers are set to take oath on Saturday morning, sources said.
They said the decision was finalised after hours of parleys between Siddaramaiah and his deputy D K Shivakumar with top central leaders including AICC general secretaries K C Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi gave their final nod to the list which balances caste and regional equations in the southern state. As many as eight ministers along with the chief minister and his deputy have already taken oath in Karnataka on May 20.
Former Minister and five-time Congress MLA UT Khader was unanimously elected as the new Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. Khader (53) will be the first Muslim leader and the youngest to serve as Speaker of Karnataka Assembly.
The Karnataka cabinet can have a total of 34 ministers including the chief minister. The sources said the expanded cabinet will have four new ministers belonging to the Lingayat community and an equal number from the Vokkaliga community, besides two each from among scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, one from the Muslim community, a Brahmin and a lone woman.
Karnataka to have a full cabinet of 34 ministers.— Anusha Ravi Sood (@anusharavi10) May 26, 2023
24 new ministers to take oath tomorrow. In the list, @HKPatilINC, @krishnabgowda, @eshwar_khandre, @dineshgrao. The lone woman minister in cabinet - @laxmi_hebbalkar @TheSouthfirst pic.twitter.com/k8D6ncxp0k
According to the sources, the list of probable ministers who are likely to take oath on Saturday include Dinesh Gundu Rao, Krishna Byre Gowda, Eshwar Khandre, Raheem Khan, Santosh Lad, K N Rajanna, Peeriyapattana Venkatesh, H C Mahadevappa, Byrathi Suresh, C Puttarangashetty, Shivaraj Tangadi, R B Timmpur and B Nagendra, all of whom are considered close to Siddaramaiah.
The sources added that Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Madhu Bangarappa, D Sudhakar, Cheluvaraya Swami, Mankul Vaidya and M C Sudhakar are also among the list of ministers included in the expanded cabinet, all of whom are considered close to Shivakumar.
They added that the list of new ministers will also include H K Patil, Sharanprakash Patil, Shivanana Patil, SS Mallikarjuna, besides Sharanbasappa Darshanapura, approved by the party high command. Besides, the name of N S Boseraju, who is the lone MLC, has also been approved in the list of new ministers to be included in the state cabinet.
Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have been in the national capital for the last three days and they have held several rounds of discussions. The final list was approved after discussions with Kharge and Rahul Gandhi. Earlier, the two Karnataka leaders also met Sonia Gandhi, for the first time after government formation in the state.
Met senior Congress leader Smt Sonia Gandhi and Shri @RahulGandhi at their residence in New Delhi today and discussed about various issues. pic.twitter.com/DSob32QztM— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) May 26, 2023
Differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had emerged over names of probable ministers but these were sorted out during the discussions, the sources said.
A protest erupted on Wednesday outside Siddaramaiah's residence as supporters of D Sudhakar, who is an MLA from the Hiriyur Assembly constituency, demanded a ministerial post for him. Congress workers were carrying poster cutouts of CM Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and D Sudhakar while chanting slogans even as they were barricaded by the police.
Meanwhile, all the leaders left for Bengaluru for the oath-taking ceremony of the new ministers. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren also left with Shivakumar and Surjewala for Saturday's event.
(With inputs from PTI)