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13 new ministers inducted in Kartaka

Bengaluru, June 19: Kartaka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday inducted 13 new ministers in his three-year-old government, while dropping an equal number. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to nine new cabinet ministers and four ministers of state at a simple ceremony on the lawns of Raj Bhavan here.

The nine cabinet ministers are K. Thimmappa, K.R. Ramesh Kumar, Basavaraja Rayareddi, Meti Hullappa Yamappa, Tanveer Sait, S.S. Mallikarju, M.R. Seetharam, Santosh S. Lad and Ramesh Laxmanrao Jarkiholi. The four ministers of state are Priyank M. Kharge, Eshwara Kandre, Pramod Madhwaraj and Rudrappa Mappa Lamani.

Their mes were cleared by the Congress high command — President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi — over two days of consultations with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state party president G. Parameshwara  The cabinet ministers took oath in Kanda in two batches of five and four, followed by the four ministers of state as Chief Secretary Arvind Jadav called them to the dais. Though 14 lawmakers were short-listed, M. Krishppa, who represents a Bengaluru assembly segment, was left out from the fil list without any reason being specified. Thimmappa is currently the assembly speaker while Ramesh Kumar held the same post during the previous Congress rule over a decade ago.

Priyank is the son of the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, while Lad returns to cabinet nearly three years after he resigned in November 2013 as minister of state for information and infrastructure development over the mining scam that rocked the state during the then BJP rule. Among the 13 dropped from the 34-member ministry, including the chief minister, are Srinivas Prasad, Kimmane Ratkar, Baburao Chinchansur, Qamarul Islam, M.H. Ambarish, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Sathish Jarkiholi, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, P.T. Parameshwar ik, Viy Kumar Sorake and S.R. Patil. The major reshuffle comes a week after the Congress won three of the four Rajya Sabha seats and four of the seven legislative council seats in the biennial elections.

“The revamp will ensure proportiote representation to all the people across the state, spanning castes and regions,” a party official said.

Mallikarjun replaced his father Shivashankarappa from Davangere, while Ramesh replaced his elder brother Sathish from Belagavi district. Kartaka is the only major state where the Congress is in power after the party lost in Assam and Kerala in the recent assembly elections. Siddaramaiah and state unit chief G. Parameshwara are hoping the revamp will restore the party’s image, tainted by drought crisis, farmers’ suicides and a spate of controversies.

“Siddaramaiah wants to inject new and young blood in the cabinet and move some of the ministers for party work in the run-up to the next assembly election, due in early 2018,” a source added. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita