Karnataka government led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is set to induct an additional 24 ministers who will take their oath of office on Saturday, as per a report. The names of the ministers have been finalized in a meeting between the CM, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar, and central leaders of the party in Delhi. Prior to the oath-taking ceremony, Siddaramaiah is scheduled to meet with Rahul Gandhi on Friday for final approval. However, the allocation of portfolios for the ministers is yet to be determined, drawing criticism from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Despite the swearing-in ceremony, the specific portfolios for the newly appointed ministers have not been assigned thus far, leading to ridicule from the BJP, stated the report in NDTV. In response, the Congress party has pointed out the period during the pandemic when the previous CM, BS Yediyurappa, functioned as the sole minister in the cabinet. Allocating portfolios to the ministers poses a challenging task for the Congress, as they strive to strike a balance and represent various communities effectively.
The politically influential Lingayat community, which played a significant role in the Congress victory, had sought the CM’s position. In the absence of a Lingayat CM, speculation suggests that a considerable number of ministerial positions may be allocated to Lingayat MLAs.
Additionally, with the upcoming general elections next year, the Congress faces pressure to demonstrate prompt results and fulfill the promises made prior to the elections.
Newly appointed minister Priyank Kharge has expressed the intention of the Congress government to review policies implemented by the previous BJP administration and rectify any perceived shortcomings. This statement has led to speculation regarding potential rollbacks on issues such as the Muslim quota, hijab ban, and anti-conversion law. The report quoted Kharge stating that any regressive bills or executive orders that hinder economic policies, fail to generate employment, or create disharmony in the state will be subject to review or rejection if deemed necessary.
The Congress achieved a resounding victory in Karnataka’s recent elections, securing 135 out of 224 seats. The BJP, the incumbent party, managed to win 66 seats, while HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular secured 19 seats. The Congress also witnessed an increase in its vote share from 38.1% in 2018 to 42.9%, primarily at the expense of the JD(S) whose vote share decreased from 18.3% to 13.3%. The BJP’s vote share remained consistent at 36% compared to the 2018 elections.