Karnataka ministry expansion Saturday, 29 to be sworn-in

Mysore, May 17 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Friday he will induct 29 members to his ministry Saturday, four days after he took office.

“Twenty-nine will be sworn in tomorrow (Saturday),” he told reporters on arrival here from New Delhi. He declined to reveal the names.

Siddaramaiah took oath alone May 13.

He and the state Congress president G. Parameshwara were in the national capital since May 15 for talks with party president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other leaders to finalise the names from among the over 50 aspirants for the 33 slots in the ministry.

Under the consitutional arrangement, Karnataka can have a 34-member ministry including the chief minister, that is 15 percent of the strength of the assembly which has 225 members, including one nominated.

The Congress ministry formation in batches comes amid demand that “tainted” be kept out as the party wrested power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on anti-corruption plank.

From Congress Lok Sabha member A.H. Vishwanath from Mysore to freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, 95, many have been strident in their call to Siddaramaiah to induct into the ministry only party legislators with clean image.

Vishwananth has been telling reporters for the last few days that only legislators with “clean image” should be made ministers.

Doreswamy has in a letter to Siddaramaiah urged him to keep out the “tainted” from the ministry.

Doreswamy was among the first group of people that Siddaramaiah called on in Bangalore after taking oath as the chief minister. Others he met included well-known writers such as U.R. Anantha Murthy, Girish Karnad and Chandrashekar Kambar, all Jnanpith Award winners.

Soon after taking oath, Siddaramaiah had told reporters here that his ministry would have people with “clean image”.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the 29 at a function in Raj Bhavan in the city centre.

The Congress has won 121 seats of the 223 for which polls were held May 5 and results announced May 8.

The BJP, whose maiden rule since 2008 was marred by sex, corruption and illegal land deal scandals and dissidence, suffered a crushing defeat, and the party won just 40 seats.

The third major political party, the Janata Dal-Secular, also won 40 seats while the remaining seats were taken by small parties and Independents.

Voting for one seat, where polling was countermanded following a candidate’s death, will take place later this month.

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