GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 20th May. Karnataka chief minister-designate Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister-designate D K Shivakumar met with the party leadership in Delhi on Friday to discuss the processes of cabinet formation in the state, and are said to have picked certain names of ministers and their portfolios.
Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar will take the oath of office on Saturday at 12.30 p.m. at Bengaluru’s Kanteerava Stadium. A few ministers are also expected to take the oath, though no official announcement has been made.
The two leaders came in from Bengaluru, along with general secretary in-charge Randeep Surjewala, for a series of cabinet formation sessions in the national capital.
Siddaramaiah held a closed-door meeting with AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and also with Surjewala. Later D K Shivakumar joined them in the discussions over the probable names to be included in the new cabinet.
After an hour of deliberation, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar, together with Surejwala and Vengugopal, met Rahul Gandhi at 10, Janpath, where the leaders spoke for more than an hour and a half.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have also been formally invited to the swearing-in event by Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar.
Sources said the new cabinet would have representation from all regions of the state and sections including SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women, youth and Lingayats and Vokkaligas, the two prominent communities in the southern state, sources said. Shivakumar is a Vokkaliga.
After meeting Rahul Gandhi, Surejwala and Vengugopal headed to party chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence where they are said to have finalised the list of ministers, which sources said would be around 20.
Venugopal had earlier said “a bunch” of ministers would also be taking oath.
A meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Thursday formally elected Siddaramaiah as its leader, following which he staked claim with the governor, who invited him to form the government.
After arriving in Delhi, DK Shivakumar told reporters “We want to invite our leaders, we want to invite Rahul ji, Sonia ji, Kharge ji and Priyanka ji for the ceremony. They gave their sweat, direction (to the campaign), so I wanted to invite them personally. Later, we are discussing the cabinet formation.” Asked how many Opposition leaders would attend the swearing-in, he said, “That we have requested our AICC president to take care of, for us, first is the Congress president and the Gandhi family, we are here to invite them personally.” He asserted that the promises made by leaders like Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi to the people of Karnataka will be fulfilled in the first Cabinet meeting itself.
Newly-elected MLA Priyanka Kharge, son of the Congress president and who is a probable minister, also met DK Shivakumar at his brother’s residence at Kaveri apartments.
Before leaving for Delhi, DK Shivakumar said fulfilling the promises made to the people is the first priority.
“Cabinet, people, all those things we will let you know later, we will not do anything leaving you (media), there is no need for any speculation. We will work unitedly,” he said.
The first challenge that Siddaramaiah is expected to face is putting in place a Cabinet with the right combinations that will strike a balance in having representatives from all communities, regions, factions and also from among the old and new generation of legislators.
With the sanctioned strength of the Karnataka Cabinet being 34, there are too many aspirants for ministerial berths.
Noting that the voice of the people will be the voice of the government of Karnataka, Shivakumar said, “All our national leaders are coming (for the swearing-in ceremony). On the first day, in the first cabinet, we will implement all our ‘guarantees’, we will keep up our promise.” Several national leaders have been invited for the swearing-in ceremony and most of them are coming, he said.
Shivakumar also invited leaders of the BJP and JD(S) for the event, stating that as public representatives, they too are part of the government machinery.
Earlier, the deputy CM-designate also visited Kanteerava Stadium, the venue of the ceremony and inspected the preparations there.
The Congress has promised to implement “guarantees” like 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), ₹ 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya), ₹ 3,000 every month for graduate youth and ₹ 1,500 for diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (YuvaNidhi), and free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti), on the first day of assuming power in the state. (with agency inputs)