Congress has finally settled the squabbling over the portfolios in the Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's government following the recent cabinet expansion. News Nation has learnt that dominant Lingayat leader MB Patil will be the new home minister of Karnataka. Prior to this, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara held the key ministry. The Hindu had earlier reported that Parameshwara was not ready for giving up the home ministry as he felt that it would diminish the prestige of his post of Deputy Chief Minister. However, the communication from the Congress leadership to Kumaraswamy meant that Patil will get the crucial ministry.
Last week on December 22, Kumaraswamy had expanded his six-month old cabinet, inducting eight members from its coalition partner Congress. Two ministers -- Ramesh Jarkiholi (Municipal Administration) and R Shankar (Forest and Environment) -- were dropped.
The new ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy at the Glass House at Raj Bhavan by Governor Vajubhai Vala amid tight security.
The new inductees are Satish Jarkiholi, M B Patil, CS Shivalli, MTB Nagaraj, E Tukaram, P T Parameshwar Naik, Rahim Khan and R B Thimmapur, with seven of them hailing from north Karnataka.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had given the go-ahead for the rejig Friday night after the state party leaders and AICC in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal met him and discussed the issue. Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has allegedly been hobnobbing with BJP leaders and not attending cabinet and party meetings, has been replaced by his brother Satish Jarkiholi. Shankar is an Independent lawmaker who faced the axe over his reported reluctance to be an associate member of the Congress.
Kumaraswamy tenure as the Chief Minister has not been very smooth. Apart from the confusion and the compulsion of the coalition government, Kumaraswamy has been in news for one controversy or the other.
Kumaraswamy found himself in a raging controversy Tuesday after a video of his telephonic instruction to "shoot mercilessly" those who had killed a JDS worker in the party's stronghold of Mandya district on Monday went viral.
As the controversy refused to die down despite his clarification, Kumaraswamy said, "It is not a big issue..it is a human tendency...in that sort of a situation any human being will react like that.I have already clarified it, that is why I changed the word also."
JDS worker Prakash was hacked to death allegedly by four men in Maddur town Monday evening.
(With inputs from PTI)