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Congress rule in Karnataka from Monday, after 9-year gap

Bangalore, May 12, 2013, (IANS)
Congress workers celebrating the selection of Siddaramaiah as the chief minister.  DH PHOTO

Congress leader Siddaramaiah will take over as Karnataka chief minister Monday, beginning the party's rule of the state on its own after a gap of nine years.

Governor H. R. Bhardwaj will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Siddarimaiah at Sree Kanteerva stadium in city centre.

This is the first time in Karnataka that a chief minister will be sworn-in at a stadium as work on metro rail has taken up much of space in front of the Vidhana Soudha, the majestic state secretariat, the usual venue for such functions.

The stadium is about three km from Vidhana Soudha.

The other venue has been the lawns of the Raj Bhavan, about a km from Vidhana Soudha, which however cannot accommodate thousands of supporters of the 64-year-old leader from his home district Mysore and other parts of the state want to witness the function.

Only Siddaramaiah is expected to be sworn-in Monday as there are many aspirants for ministerial berths from among the 120 (excluding Siddaramaiah) newly elected Congress assembly members and several members of the legislative council.

Siddaramaiah, chosen May 10 by the party to lead the government, has said that he and the state Congress chief G. Parameshwara would go to New Delhi Monday to finalise the names of the ministers in talks with the high command.

Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysore, about 130 km from here, that the party's election manifesto had made a number of promises and he would draw up a plan to ensure their time-bound implementation.

He sought cooperation of all sections of the society, including Dalits, as at a few places some Dalit organizations have organized protests against what they claim as "denial" of chief ministership to union Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, a Dalit.

"I am also a Dalit (in the sense that he is from a deprived sections of the society)," said Siddaramaiah, who belongs to Kuruba (shepherd community) caste.

Siddaramaiah said Kharge deserved the post but high command has given the responsibility to him and all should abide by it.

Kharge also appealed to the protesting Dalits to end the agitation. He told reporters in Bangalore that the Congress high command has taken the decision and now the focus should be on helping the party to provide good governance and not protests.

The Congress won 121 seats in the 225-member assembly for which election was held May 5 and voted counted May 8. The Congress last ruled the state on its own in 1999-2004. For nearly two years in 2004-2006, it headed a coalition with Janata Dal-Secular.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was routed in the poll as it won just 40 seats and is tied for the second spot with Janata Dal-Secular which also got the same number of seats.

Independents and smaller parties have taken 22 seats while voting will take place May 28 for one seat as polling was countermanded following the death of BJP candidate.


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