Bengaluru: After suffering a mild setback during the election of the Legislative Council chairman, former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah bounced back on Saturday with nearly 50 per cent of the berths going to his supporters in the Cabinet expansion by the Kumaraswamy government.
The Kuruba strongman's stamp was writ large on the exercise with the induction of two Kuruba MLAs and his long-time associates, C.S. Shivalli and M. T. B. Nagaraj, as well as old confidantes M.B. Patil and E. Tukaram into the Cabinet. While the party chose to replace Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi with his brother Satish Jarakiholi, Lok Sabha leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge and the KPCC working president ensured the smooth entry of two-time legislator from Bidar North, Rahim Khan and former minister, R.B. Thimmapur.
The eight new cabinet ministers from Congress were sworn in by Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala at Raj Bhavan. Though CM H.D. Kumaraswamy and DyCM Dr G. Parameshwar sat alongside the Governor, it was Mr Siddaramaiah who hogged the show as the Cabinet expansion has sent a loud and clear message to his detractors within the party that his word carries weight with its central leadership.
The dropping of independent MLA and Forest Minister, R. Shankar and Belagavi strongman and Municipal Administration Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi is also believed to be an indication of Mr Siddaramaiah flexing his muscles.
The party has delivered a strong message to party rebels too by showing the door to Mr Shankar, who appears to have paid the price for not joining the Congress even six months after being sworn-in as Minister.
With the induction of new ministers, the Cabinet is now 31-member strong....