The portfolio allocation for 27 ministers in the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka was completed on Friday, with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy taking charge of 11 of the 47 allotted portfolios. Kumaraswamy will be in charge of key portfolios such as Finance, Energy, Intelligence and Infrastructure development, while his elder brother H D Revanna has been given charge of the Public Works Department.
Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader G Parameshwara will be in charge of the Home portfolio, Bengaluru City and Youth Empowerment. Among other senior Congress leaders, R V Deshpande has been given the Revenue Ministry, D K Shivakumar the Irrigation Ministry, and K J George the large, Medium Scale Industries, Information Technology and Biotechnology portfolios.
BSP MLA from Kollegal, N Mahesh, who has made it to the cabinet on account of a JDS-BSP pre-poll alliance, has been appointed the minister for Primary and Secondary Education. Congress MLA, Rajashekhar Patil, rumoured to have been a target for poaching by the BJP ahead of government formation, has been given the Mines and Geology portfolio.
The Congress, which has 77 MLAs in the Assembly, has got 22 ministerial berths, while the JDS with 37 legislators, has got 12 berths as per the coalition agreement. The Congress named 16 ministers and the JDS 11 on June 6.
With the Congress leaving out seasoned politicians like M B Patil, H K Patil, Satish Jharkiholi and Ramalinga Reddy from the Cabinet, the dissatisfied MLAs have been holding meetings among themselves. Some of their supporters have also staged protests over the matter. Former irrigation minister M B Patil has been the most vocal in expressing dissatisfaction at being left out of the Cabinet. Kumaraswamy on Friday met Patil.
“This is not an issue related to my party because these decisions ware taken within the Congress party, but I have understood his pain that he has worked for the Congress when it needed him and now he feels let down,’’ Kumaraswamy said, adding that he would request Congress leaders to address Patil’s concerns. Several Congress MLAs miffed over being denied Cabinet berths held a meeting at Patil’s home on Thursday. “All our efforts are towards strengthening the Congress party and taking it forward,” Patil claimed, while denying that he was playing a central role in building up the dissidence within the party.
“There is bound to be some dissatisfaction among those leaders who did not make it to the cabinet. We will try to resolve these issues. There are six vacant positions and we will fill these posts with the appropriate candidates,’’ Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara had stated on June 6 after names of the ministers in the new Cabinet were announced.