The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka officially announced its Cabinet expansion on Saturday, 22 December. Eight MLAs who were promoted to the rank of the Cabinet ministers took oath at the Karnataka Raj Bhavan at 5:30 pm on Saturday.
With this expansion, all the vacancies in the Cabinet have been be filled. In the 34-member Cabinet, eight posts were vacant, out which six are allotted to the Congress, one to the JD(S) and one to BSP.
No JD(S) or BSP MLAs took oath as minister on Saturday.
The newly appointed Cabinet ministers are: Satish Jarkiholi (MLA from Yamakanamaradi), CS Shivalli (Kundgol MLA), RB Thimmapur (MLC from Bagalkotdistrict), MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote), E Tukaram (Sandur), PT Parameshwar Naik (Hoovina Hadagali), Rahim Khan (Bidar North) and MB Patil (Babaleshwar).
Two ministers who have been dropped from the Cabinet are Ramesh Jarkiholi (Municipal Administration) and R Shankar (Forest and Environment).
Ramesh Jarkiholi Dropped
Ramesh Jarkiholi, a prominent leader from North Karnataka’s Belagavi who had threatened to rebel a few months ago, is among the two ministers dropped from the Cabinet.
However, party leaders said dropping Ramesh from the Cabinet had nothing do with past actions, instead it was part of strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Sources said he will be replaced by his younger brother Satish Jarkiholi, another leader from Belagavi who will pave the way for Ramesh to contest polls next year.
First Signs of Dissent
Along with the names of probables for Cabinet berths, the Congress party on Friday, 21 December, released a draft list of seven parliamentary secretaries.
A parliamentary secretary holds the rank of minister of state.
Sowmya Reddy, who was among those listed for the post of parliamentary secretary, took to Twitter on Saturday to express her displeasure over the party’s decision to not give her father and former state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy a Cabinet berth.
"I don't want the post of Parliamentary Secretary or any other such additional responsibility. As a first-time MLA, I require a lot of time for carrying out the development works in Jayanagar. The post can be given to anybody else, who is in need of it. I'd rather see my father, a seven-time MLA, as a minister. His contribution to the growth of the Congress in Bengaluru is immense. Because of one MLA like him, there are more than 15 MLAs in Bengaluru today," she said in a tweet.
On Saturday morning, supporters of Ramalinga Reddy also held a protest in front of the KPCC office in Bengaluru. Even before the swearing-in, his supporters created a ruckus outside Rajbhavan.
HK Patil Appointed Campaign Committee President
On Saturday morning, senior Congress leader HK Patil was appointed Campaign Committee President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. A statement from the party said he will replace Congress leader DK Shivakumar as the committee chief with immediate effect.
Patil was initially in the race for the Cabinet post. The new role for Patil is believed to be an attempt to pacify the leader.
No New Women Ministers?
No new women ministers were inducted in the Karnataka Cabinet even though party President Rahul Gandhi had earlier asked Congress governments to have a resolution seeking one-third reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.
State Minister for Women and Child Development Jayamala is the only woman minister in the Cabinet. Although several women legislators – Anjali Nimbalkar, Soumya Reddy and Roopa Shashidhar – were in the race for positions, they did not find a place in the Cabinet.