Perhaps, May 18, 2013, would go down as a historic day in the political history of Dakshina Kannada district as the new Congress government in the State has allotted three ministers to the Port City. While Bantwal MLA B Ramanath Rai and Mangalore MLA U T Khader have been given the cabinet berths, Moodbidri MLA Abhayachandra Jain has been given the rank of Minister of State.
Ever since the Udupi district was carved out of undivided Dakshina Kannada district in 1997, there have been four elections - in 1999 (Janata Party), 2004 (Cong-JD(S) & JD(S)-BJP), 2008 (BJP) and 2013 (Congress) and for the first time three persons from DK have been made ministers by any government in the State.
While the J H Patel-led Janata Party government had only one minister (B A Moideen) from Dakshina Kannada district (Jayaprakash Hegde from Udupi), B Nagaraj Shetty became the minister from DK in 2004 and Krishna J Palemar was made the minister in 2008 elections.
However, the year 2013 proved lucky for three MLAs from the DK, the highest number of ministers ever since the Dakshina Kannada district was separated from Udupi in 1997.
Taking Kaup MLA Vinaykumar Sorake into account, the number of ministers in coastal districts would go up to four.
However, if you take the undivided Dakshina Kannada district into account, then the credit of giving highest number of portfolios goes to Veerappa Moily government (1992-94) when six MLAs from the coastal districts were made ministers. They include - Blasius D’Souza, Ramanath Rai, Manorama Madhwaraj and Vasanth Salian besides Veerappa Moily (Chief Minister).
The Congress leaders and party workers in Dakshina Kannada district erupted with joy as the district got its major share in the newly formed State cabinet on Saturday. The sense of expectation was naturally high as the district has given seven Congress MLAs in the recently held Assembly elections.
In return, three newly-elected MLAs from the district have been inducted in the ministry of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The party leaders and workers unanimously welcomed the moment when Bantwal MLA Ramanath Rai and Mangalore MLA U T Khader swore in as cabinet ministers and Moodbidri MLA Abhaychandra Jain swore in as the State Minister on Saturday. The party workers burst crackers in front of the District Congress office in Mangalore to celebrate the selection of three political leaders from the district as ministers.
Speaking to Deccan Herald after swearing in as the minister, Ramanath Rai said that the district has got its share which it rightfully deserved. “With three departments in hand, we three ministers can bring a lot of developmental work to the district. One of our first priorities will be to solve the drinking water crisis by constructing of dams under Pashchima Vahini Yojane,” he said.
Humbly accepting the ministerial berth, U T Khader emphasised on preventing the activities of communal and anti-social forces in the district. Decisions will be taken on the development model after holding discussions with the party’s senior leaders like B Janardhan Poojary, M Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes and B Ramanath Rai.
Newly elected MLA from Belthangady Vasanth Bangera, Shakunthala Shetty from Puttur and Mohiuddin Bava from Mangalore North too welcomed the decision of the Congress high command. “As an MLA, I would look forward for special grants and projects to Dakshina Kannada, specially to solve the drinking water crisis ,” Shetty said.
Mohiuddin Bava too hoped that the coastal region can see a lot of development with three of its ministers getting ministerial berth.
Lessons to ministers
In a lesson to the newly inducted ministers representing DK and Udupi districts in the State Cabinet, senior Congress leader B Janardhan Poojary asked them to work with integrity and not fall prey for any wrong doings.
Addressing media persons on Saturday, Poojary said the party high-command by keeping away the ‘tainted’ MLAs from the ministry, has given a very clear message that the party would not entertain those involved in corruption.
The new ministers should work according to the expectations of the people, by not involving in activities that would defame them and the party. The voters have taught a lesson to the BJP in the last Assembly elections and they would teach the same lesson to the Congress too in the next election, if the party elected representatives indulge in malpractices, he warned.