Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday evening allocated portfolios to 28 ministers but kept 11 key departments, including finance, energy, major and medium industries, mines and geology, Bangalore City, IT and BT besides Intelligence wing, with him.
A gazette notification regarding the portfolio allocation was issued on Sunday evening by the governor’s office. Of the total 34 ministerial berths, five have been kept vacant.
Though Siddaramaiah was all set to allocate portfolios on Saturday itself, he could not do so because many seniors, especially old timers in the party, opposed the “light weight” portfolios offered to them. A day after, he budged a bit by giving additional portfolios to aggrieved ministers.
Siddaramaiah also kept four of his close associates in good humour by giving them key portfolios. While V Srinivas Prasad has been given revenue, H C Mahadevappa has been made public works minister, H S Mahadev Prasad has got co-operation and Satish Jarakiholi has been given excise.
Among the seniors in the Congress who have been allocated plum portfolios are H K Patil and R V Deshpande. While Patil got rural development and panchayat raj, Deshpande was allotted higher education and tourism. T B Jayachandra was offered law and parliamentary affairs department, but he sought a “better” portfolio. Jayachandra was keen to become irrigation minister but he eventually got animal husbandry besides law and parliamentary affairs.
Another senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy got transport. Irrigation portfolio has gone to first time minister M B Patil of Bijapur district. He will be taking charge at a time when the government will have to take steps to implement the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
Kimmane Rathnakar has been given primary and secondary education, a subject dear to him. Mining baron Santosh Lad, a first time minister and the youngest in Siddaramaiah’s Council of Ministers, has been given the key infrastructure department with independent charge.
Interestingly, none of the four ministers from Bangalore has been given any department which is directly related to the City. Dinesh Gundu Rao of Bangalore has been given food and civil supplies, Krishna Byregowda has been given agriculture. His father, the late C Byregowda, was also agriculture minister in the Janata Dal government in the 1990s.
Rao will have the challenge of weeding out bogus ration cards and implementing the flagship programme of the Congress government of providing rice at Re 1 per kg to BPL families.
Another Bangalore MLA, K J George of Cabinet rank, has been given the home portfolio.
All the eight ministers of state have been given independent charge and most of them have been given key portfolios. All the eight can attend cabinet meetings. The 64-year old Abhaychandra Jain has been made youth services minister with independent charge.
The lone woman in the ministry is film personality Umashree. She has become minister for the first time. Though she is a minister of state, she has been rewarded with women and child development as well as Kannada and culture. Veteran actor M H Ambareesh has been given housing portfolio. One of the senior most ministers in the Cabinet—Shamanoor Shivashankarappa, 81 — has been made agriculture marketing and horticulture minister.