22 legislators vie for 4 Cabinet berths

Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara to hold talks with high command on Sept 3

22 legislators vie for 4 Cabinet berths

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is all set to take up the long-pending Cabinet expansion exercise soon. But he can complete the exercise only after taking the party high command into confidence.


Not less than 22 legislators are aspiring to become ministers and all of them are exerting pressure on the chief minister and the high command to accommodate them in the Cabinet.

On Saturday, while speaking to reporters here, the chief minister reiterated that he has no plans to reshuffle the ministry, but will only expand it. There are four berths vacant of the total 34 berths.

In all probability, the chief minister may induct three ministers and leave one slot vacant. There are now 23 ministers with Cabinet rank and seven with Minister of State rank.

Siddaramaiah, along with State Congress chief G Parameshwara, is scheduled to meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi and others in New Delhi on September 3 to discuss the outcome of the Assembly by-elections and the impending Cabinet expansion as well as appointments to boards/corporations.

So far, the chief minister has not been over enthusiastic when it comes to expanding the ministry.

However, he is under intense pressure from those who are lobbying for berths. Parameshwara is keen on becoming deputy chief minister, but Siddaramaiah has never openly encouraged. However, he has been saying that it is left to the party high command to take a decision on creating the post of deputy chief minister.

Besides Parameshwara, the names of former ministers H Y Meti and Dr Maalakaraddy, Vinay Kulkarni, Eshwar Khandre and A Manju, among others, are making the rounds as probable ministers. If the high command goes by Siddaramaiah’s opinion, Parameshwara may not get what he is aiming at.

However, if Parameshwara accepts ministerial post, he may get a key portfolio like major industries, which is now being held by the chief minister.

It is said that during the Lok Sabha elections, the chief minister had promised Manju, who had unsuccessfully contested against JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda in Hassan, that he would be made a minister. Manju, a Vokkaliga, has stood by Siddaramaiah.

He is one Congress leader who has been active in Hassan. He may be groomed by the party to take on the dominance of the Deve Gowda clan in Hassan.  Both Kulkarni and Khandre are Lingayats. Khandre, who is MLA from Bhalki in Bidar, is of the strong view that Bidar, which is 750 km away from Bangalore, should get a representation in the Cabinet.

“The special status to H-K region is being implemented. So, Bidar needs a minister who can effectively supervise it,” he added.

But Khandre has a competitor in Rajashekar B Patil, who is MLA from Humnabad in Bidar. Khandre says that he is senior to Patil when it comes to service to the party. Vinay Kulkarni, MLA from Dharwad, is also lobbying for a berth. There are already four Lingayat ministers in the 30-member council of ministers.

There are allegations against the chief minister that he has not given representation to his community (Kuruba) in the ministry. So, Siddaramaiah may accommodate M Y Meti, MLA from Bagalkot. There are rumours that since H M Revanna, belonging to the same community, has already been made MLC, the chief minister may not heed to the demand.
DH News Service

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