Bengaluru: Seven Congress MLAs and one MLC will be sworn in as ministers in the HD Kumaraswamy-led government on Saturday evening as part of the much-awaited expansion and reshuffle of the six-month-old cabinet.
The legislators whose names were finalised for the second round will take oath at Raj Bhavan at 5:20pm.
CS Shivalli of Kundgol constituency, MTB Nagaraju of Hosakote, E Tukaram of Sandur, MB Patil of Babaleshwar, PT Parameshwaranaik of Hadagalli, Satish Jarkiholi of Yemkanamardi and Rahim Khan of Bidar are the MLAs who will be sworn in. MLC RB Thimmapur will also take oath.
Except Nagaraju, who is from Bengaluru Rural, the rest are from North Karnataka, four from the Mumbai-Karnataka region and three from Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
The decision comes after leaders of the region repeatedly criticised the party for "neglecting north Karnataka". Of these ministerial candidates, two belong to Scheduled Tribes, two to Kuruba and one each to Scheduled Caste, Lingayat, Lambani and minority communities.
The Congress has only six berths to fill. By releasing eight names, it has hinted that two of its ministers will be dropped. This is likely to fan discontent in party ranks, beginning with senior leader and former state home minister Ramalinga Reddy. His daughter and MLA Sowmya Reddy has lashed out at the party, calling the decision “unfortunate”.
"In one of the lists floating around, I see that they have given me parliamentary secretary position. I did not ask for it and don't want it either. My father has been an MLA seven times and a minister four times. He's built the party from scratch. It is very unfortunate and shocking for all of us that he has been left out, if at all he's not been included," Sowmya told CNN-News18.
"Why is it that the current cabinet has some juniors and some seniors? It's just pick and choose. There are three other ministers who are as senior as my father. But they have been made ministers. That's what's surprising for us. They deserve to be there, but so does my father," she said.
Ramalinga’s supporters protested outside the Congress headquarters on Saturday, demanding the inclusion of his name in the new cabinet.
BC Patil, an MLA from Hirekerur constituency in Haveri district, who has also been denied berth, expressed resentment towards the party. "I am disappointed. There has been injustice done to my district. For more than 30 years, there has not been a minister from here. I had trusted Siddaramaiah," he told News18 Kannada.
In what appears to be a consolation prize, former minister and MLA from Gadag constituency, HK Patil, has now been appointed chairman of the campaign committee of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. He replaces minister DK Shivakumar.
After the first round of expansion, too, many senior leaders in the Congress, including Ramalinga, had expressed unhappiness over being denied berths.