Siddaramaiah expands ministry in Karnataka, inducts 28

Bangalore, May 18 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Saturday inducted 28 members – 20 of cabinet rank and eight ministers of state – into his five-day-old ministry, the first Congress ministry in the state after nine years.

The cabinet ministers are: R.V. Deshpande, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, T.B. Jayachandra, Ramalinga Reddy, Prakash Hukkeri, Qamarul Islam, H.K. Patil, V. Srinivas Prasad, H.C. Mahadevappa, H.S. Mahadeva Prasad, K.J. George, Vinay Kumar Sorake, Ramanath Rai, Baburao Chinchanasur, M.H. Ambareesh, Shivaraj Thangadagi, U.T. Khader, M.B. Patil, Satish Jharkiholi and H. Anjaneya.

The ministers of state are: Dinesh Gundu Rao, Krishna Byregowda, S.P. Rudrappa Patil, K. Abhay Chandra Jail, Umashree (one name), T. Parameshwar Naik, Santosh Lad, and Kimmane Ratnakara.

Umashree, a noted Kannada film actor, is the lone woman in the ministry, formed after the Congress wrested power from the Bharatiya Janata Party in the assembly poll held May 5.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj administered the oath of office and secrecy in batches at Raj Bhavan in city centre as supporters of the new ministers loudly cheered them.

Siddaramaiah is expected to allot the portfolios to the ministers later in the day.

The chief minister has kept five slots in the ministry vacant.

Under the constitutional 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.

Siddaramaiah had taken oath alone May 13 and spent nearly three days in New Delhi, along with state Congress chief G. Parameshwara, to finalise the names of party legislators to be made ministers as there were large number of aspirants.

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 BJP candidate’s death, will take place later this month.

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