New Karnataka minister given IT, BT portfolios

Bangalore, May 26 (IANS) S.R. Patil, who was sworn-in as member of the Siddaramaiah government Saturday, will be the new Karnataka minister for information technology (IT), biotechnology (BT) and science and technology.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Sunday allocated the portfolios to Patil, a Congress lawmaker in the state legislative council.

In addition, Patil will also look after planning and statistics departments.

Patil, 64, who hails from Bagalkot in the northern region of the state, was administered the oath of office by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan in the city centre.

With his induction, the two-week-old Congress government has 30 ministers, including 21 with cabinet rank and eight as ministers of state, besides the chief minister.

Siddaramaiah inducted 28 party lawmakers from the state assembly as ministers May 18 after he assumed office May 13.

Patil was leader of the opposition in the council during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule which ended with the party’s defeat in the recent assembly poll.

His entry to the ministry came after strong protest by Congress members in the council that none from the state’s upper house of legislature has been made a minister by the ruling party.

In the 75-member legislative council, the Congress has 17 members and is in minority. The BJP is in majority with 40 members, including the chairman of the house.

With Patil’s induction, the ministry has four vacancies. Karnataka can have a 34-member ministry including the chief minister as per the constitutional arrangement.

The Congress returned to power on its own after nine years in the state winning 121 seats in the 225-member assembly in the poll held May 5.

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