Following the Congress’s thumping electoral victory in Karnataka, and week-long chaos over the top job, party president Mallikarjun Kharge today approved the first list of eight Cabinet Ministers in the Karnataka government who were sworn-in today.
The party faces a daunting task of choosing the right combinations of ministers that will strike a balance in having representatives from all communities, regions, factions, and also from among the old and new generation of legislators.
Eight newly elected MLAs with diverse representation — G Parameshwara (SC), KH Muniyappa (SC), KJ George (Minority-Christian), MB Patil (Lingayat), Satish Jarkiholi (ST-Valmiki), Priyank Kharge (SC, and AICC President M Mallikarjun Kharge’s son), Ramalinga Reddy (Reddy), and BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan (Minority-Muslim) — took the oath of office along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who will also continue to be the state party chief.
G Parameshwara is a former Deputy Chief Minister and state Home Minister. He was KPCC president in 2013 when Congress won. He is the SC (right) face of the party in South Karnataka.
KH Muniyappa is a seven-time MP, former Union Minister, and a strong SC (left) face of the party.
Priyank Kharge, son of AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge, is a three-time MLA and a top SC (right) leader.
Satish Jarkiholi belongs to the powerful Jharkhioli family in Belagavi. He is also the ST face of the party.
Ramalinga Reddy is an eight-time MLA from Bengaluru and a powerful city face of the party.
KJ George is a former state Home Minister and an important city leader of the Congress. He is one of the party’s minority faces.
BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan is considered close to Mr Siddaramaiah. He is another minority face of the party from Bengaluru city.
MB Patil was the Campaign Committee Chief. He is the Lingayat face of the party and hails from the Mumbai Karnataka region.
Mr Kharge said that he will be present on the occasion and is leaving for Bengaluru for the same in a short while.
“Today is the swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and eight MLAs who will take oath as the ministers (in the state cabinet), everyone is attending it. I am going for the same. It is a matter of delight that a new and strong Congress government has come to power in Karnataka. This will benefit Karnataka, and it is creating a good environment in the country,” Mr Kharge told news agency ANI.
Mr Siddaramaiah and Mr Shivakumar were in Delhi till late Friday night discussing with the party’s high command the names of ministers to be inducted into the new cabinet and the allocation of portfolios.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge invited leaders of several like-minded parties for the swearing-in ceremony, which saw Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administering the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and his Cabinet at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Siddaramaiah took oath here in 2013 as well, when he became Chief Minister for the first time.
The event was also pitched to be a show of strength for opposition parties amid unity efforts to take on the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.