After two days of deliberations, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has allocated portfolios to ministers in his Cabinet, keeping the Finance department with himself while assigning the Irrigation and Bengaluru City Development departments to his deputy DK Shivakumar.
Siddaramaiah took the oath of office with Shivakumar and eight ministers on May 20. He subsequently expanded the Cabinet to its full strength by inducting 24 new ministers on Saturday after rounds of discussions with the Congress' central leadership.
G Parameshwara, who has previously handled the Home department, has once again been allocated the portfolio. MB Patil is the new Large and Medium Industries minister while KJ Geroge has been given the Energy department portfolio, the Karnataka government announced in a notification released late on Sunday.
Apart from the Finance department, the chief minister, who has presented 13 state budgets, has kept Cabinet Affairs, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Intelligence, Information, IT and BT, Infrastructure Development and all unallocated portfolios.
Shivakumar has got the all-important Major and Medium Irrigation and Bengaluru City Development, including the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority and the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited.
Shivakumar, who hails from the neighbouring Ramanagara district, has been allocated the Bengaluru City Development department despite five MLAs from the city being ministers in the Cabinet. The portfolio is important keeping in mind the upcoming BBMP polls.
HK Patil has been allocated Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Legislation and Tourism while KH Muniyappa -- a former Union minister for whom this is the first stint in the state Cabinet -- is the new Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister.
Ramalinga Reddy has been made the minister for Transport and Muzrai. Amid speculation that Reddy did not want the Transport department, Shivakumar visited his residence and held discussions on Sunday evening.
Dinesh Gundu Rao is the Health and Family Welfare minister while HC Mahadevappa has been given charge of Social Welfare. Public Works has been allocated to Satish Jarakiholi and Revenue to Krishna Byregowda.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's son Priyank Kharge is the new Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister, Shivanand Patil has been given Textiles, Sugarcane Development and the Directorate of Sugar, Agricultural Marketing from the Cooperation department.
BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan will take charge of Housing, Wakf and Minority Welfare while Sharanabasappa Darshanapur has been allocated Small Scale Industries and Public Enterprises. Forest, Ecology and Environment has gone to Eshwar Khandre, Agriculture to N Cheluvarayaswamy, Mines and Geology, Horticulture to SS Mallikarjun, Municipal Administration and Haj to Rahim Khan and Labour to Santhosh S Lad.
Laxmi R Hebbalkar, the lone woman in the Cabinet, will take charge of the Women and Child Development and the Disabled and Senior Citizens Empowerment portfolios and Sharanaprakash Rudrappa Patil has been allocated the Medical Education and Skill Development portfolio.
Other ministers and their departments include RB Timmapur (Excise), K Venkatesh (Animal Husbandry and Sericulture), Shivaraj Tangadagi (Backward Class, Kannada and Culture), D Sudhakar (Planning and Statistics), B Nagendra (Youth Services, Sports and ST Welfare), KN Rajanna (Co-operation), Suresha BS (Urban Development and Town Planning) and Mankal Vaidya (Fisheries and Ports, Inland Transport).
Madhu Bangarappa will take over the Primary and Secondary Education portfolio, MC Sudhakar will take charge of Higher Education and NS Boseraju has been allocated Minor Irrigation, Science and Technology.
There was some disgruntlement within the Congress after the Cabinet expansion with several MLAs, who held aspirations of becoming ministers but missed out, having to be pacified by party leaders.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, on Saturday, May 27, that considering it as a special case, Nutan Kumari, the wife of slain BJP Yuva Morcha activist Nettaru would be re-appointed on humanitarian basis. "It is a natural process to terminate all temporary workers appointed by the previous government. Not only the wife of late Praveen Kumar Nettaru, more than 150 contract employees have been terminated from their services. There is no interference by the government in this," Siddaramaiah maintained.
Nettaru was hacked to death on July 26, 2022, at the height of the hijab and halal crisis in the state. The case is now being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
In the May 10 elections to the 224-member assembly, the Congress bagged 135 seats while the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19, respectively.
(With inputs from PTI)