Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday expanded his 15-day-old Cabinet, inducting 25 new ministers after intense bargaining for ministerial berths, in a much-awaited exercise that caused heartburn among several lawmakers in the JDS-Congress coalition.
M B Patil, a prominent face in the Siddaramaiah government who was at the forefront of the move for religious minority status for Lingayats, was also sullen.
“I didn’t use pressure tactics or blackmail,” he said, adding he would meet the state party leaders and ask them why he was left out.
Independent MLA Nagesh, who has extended support to the Kumaraswamy government, said he came dressed for the occasion and was upset at not being accommodated in the ministry.
“I am not able to understand why I was dropped. I am very upset. I was even dressed for the occasion,” he said.
Senior JDS leader Basavaraj Horatti said he too expected to be inducted but understood that Kumaraswamy was under pressure from many quarters. “I understand his dilemma,” he said.
Kumaraswamy, however, downplayed the dejection and disquiet among those left out, saying “these things are nothing new”. Such problems, he said, arose even when there was a single party government.
“It is our responsibility to provide a stable government for the next five years,” he told reporters after the oath-taking ceremony, which was attended among others by Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy’s mother Chenamma, and several senior Congress and JDS leaders.
The ceremony was earlier scheduled at 2 pm, but officials said it was delayed by 12 ministers for the auspicious ‘Kanya Lagna’ (Virgo Ascendant) to set in. The timing was changed as Gowda family strictly follows astrology.
In line with the agreement, the Congress would get the portfolios of Home, Irrigation, Bangalore City Development, Industry and Sugar Industry, Health, Revenue and Urban Development.
It will also get Rural Development, Agriculture, Housing, Social Welfare, Forest and Environment, Labour, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology and IT/BT, among others.
The JDS’s portfolios include, Finance, Excise, Information, Intelligence, Public Works Department, Power, Cooperation, Tourism, Education and Transport.