Twenty-five ministers sworn into HD Kumaraswamy’s Karnataka cabinet amid signs of unrest between Congress, JD(S)

A fortnight after becoming chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy finally expanded his two-member cabinet on Wednesday after 25 ministers took the oath of office. The much-awaited exercise, that caused heartburn among several lawmakers in the JDS-Congress coalition, came after intense bargaining for ministerial berths and hours of marathon meeting between the parties’ leadership.While the JD(S) kept 10 ministerial berths for itself, Congress had 12 of legislators inducted into the cabinet. Lone BSP MLA N Mahesh and the two Independent MLAs—Venkataramanappa and R Shankar—also got ministerial berths in the first phase of cabinet expansion.
File image of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. APFile image of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. AP
HD Revanna, brother of Chief Minister Kumaraswamy was the first person to take oath. According to The Hindu, Revanna, who was firm on getting both Energy and Public Works Department (PWD) settled for just PWD. The issue was sorted out after a three-hour meeting with Deve Gowda, the newspaper reported. Apart from him, JD(S)’ Bandappa Kashampur, GT Devegowda, DC Thamanna, SR Srinivas, CS Puttaraju, SR Mahesh, also took the oath of office.From the Congress camp, senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge and DK Shivakumar were key names. BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, who quit the JD(S) to join the Congress, was also given a cabinet seat.The new ministers took oath after days of hectic bargaining between the ruling coalition partners, the JD(S) and the Congress. Actor-turned-politician Jaimala Ramachandra from the Congress was also sworn-in and is now the lone woman minister in the Kumaraswamy cabinet.The cabinet expansion comes amid fresh outbreak of infighting in Congress, the larger partner in the alliance. As 12 Congress MLAs took oath as ministers, around 200 supporters of Congress MLA HK Patil protested at Chalukya circle in Bengaluru, and demanded he be given a ministerial berth. Besides, supporters of another Congress MLA Satish Jarkiholi also staged a protest near Vidhana Soudha demanding a ministerial seat for him in the state cabinet, Zee news reported Reacting to reports about heartburn in the Congress camp, Kumaraswamy said that it was only natural for any coalition government to face teething problems in the initial stages of ministry formation. He, however, assured the people that he would give a stable government for the full five-year term.“It is natural for any coalition government to face teething problems at initial stages of ministry formation. There was a short delay in expanding the cabinet, but both Congress and JDS parties are united and will provide stable government, which would last its full five year term,” he said.Speaking to reporters after the oath-taking ceremony of new ministers along with Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Kumaraswamy recollected the 2008 rule of the BJP where its government faced disgruntlement among its legislators over ministry formation.