Siddaramaiah inducts 'tainted' D K Shivakumar, R Roshan Baig into Cabinet
Bangalore: The Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has expanded his 6 months old Cabinet on Wednesday, the first day of the New Year. He has shocked the people by inducting two 6 time MLAs, facing corruption charges, D K Shivakumar and R Roshan Baig into the cabinet. The Governor H R Bhardwaj administered oath of office and secrecy to these two senior Congress leaders at Raj Bhawan in Bangalore at 5-30 PM.
Both Shivakumar and Roshan Baig have served as ministers in previous governments in the state. Shivakaumar, a Vokkaliga strongman in the party represents Kanakapura assembly seat and Roshan Baig, a prominent Muslim leader represents Shivajinagara in Bangalore city. Siddaramaiah did not induct them after he became the chief minister in May-2013 on the grounds that top public intellectuals in the state had opposed their induction because of their alleged role in massive corruption scams.
Siddaramaiah himself had described these two as 'tainted' and had kept them out of his Cabinet. Shivakumar is facing illegal mining and land scam related charges. Roshan Baig had to resign from the S M Krishna government after his name was figured in the multi -state Telgi fake stamp paper scam in 2003. Shivakumar claims that all allegations against him are baseless and politically motivated. He says that former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's family is behind it.
Roshan Baig too claims that his name was deliberately linked to fake stamp paper scam and there is no case against him.
According to sources, the Congress high command has forced Siddaramaiah to accommodate them. People close to the Chief Minister say he was reluctant to induct them fearing public backlash. The opposition BJP and JDS are describing it as Congress' New Year gift to the people of Karnataka.
Leading Kannada TV news channel TV9 Kannada has already started an SMS campaign seeking public opinion about the induction of these two ministers.
Many Congress leaders are also unhappy with the induction of Shivakumar and Roshan Baig into the cabinet. With these two, the total strength of the Cabinet has gone up to 31. The Constitution allows the government to have maximum 34 ministers including the Chief Minister.