Siddu to induct two "tainted" MLAs into cabinet tomorrow

Siddu to induct two "tainted" MLAs into cabinet tomorrow

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is all set to expand his more than seven month-old ministry by inducting two "tainted" senior legislators tomorrow, a move that has set off discontent among ministerial aspirants.

The swearing-in ceremony of D K Shivakumar and Roshan Baig will take place at 5.15 pm, Raj Bhavan sources told PTI here after Siddaramaiah held an hour-long meeting with Governor H R Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan.

Siddaramaiah had been resisting induction of Shivakumar and Baig, as they were viewed as "scam-tainted", but has reportedly yielded ground after being told to do so by the party high command.

Baig was a minister in the S M Krishna government and had to resign after his name was linked to Karim Telgi stamp paper scam in 2003. Shivakumar, on the other hand, is facing serious charges of illegal mining and land scam.

Siddaramaiah, who took over as Chief Minister on May 13 after the Congress' spectacular victory in the Assembly polls, had inducted 28 ministers in one go in the first expansion on May 18, leaving out the "tainted" to start on a "clean slate".

Just days before the Belgaum Assembly session last month, Siddaramaiah had secured the resignation of Santosh Lad over his alleged involvement in illegal mining. The move was also seen as an attempt to send a message that he wants to keep out the "tainted" -- apparently targeting Shivakumar and Baig.

Siddaramaiah's expansion move is, meanwhile, causing discontent with a section of senior legislators and ministerial aspirants openly giving vent to their unhappiness.

Former Minister and MLA Malka Reddy said, "Naturally, as all MLAs, I was also expecting... seniors will obviously have more expectations. But I'm a loyal party follower... will abide by party's decision."

"Obviously (when not considered) it will inflict a pain, but will have to overcome it by swallowing the pain. Have experienced a lot of it..."

Another senior Congress leader and Ranebennur MLA Koliwad said, "enquiring about two people being inducted into the cabinet, I asked CM what about me? He expressed his helplessness stating that two names have come from high command..."

"I told him okay go ahead and induct only two, people will teach you a lesson in days to come - Parliament polls are fast approaching," he said.

Another senior legislator Basavaraj Rayareddy also expressed his displeasure on not being made a minister.

With the induction of two more faces, the strength of the ministry will increase to 31, including the chief minister.

Karnataka can have a 34-member Ministry according to the Constitutional upper limit.

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