BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah completed the much-awaited ministry expansion on Friday by filling three vacant slots and also effecting a minor reshuffle in portfolios.
The suspense over who gets Home Ministry was resolved with Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy getting the job. But the function on Friday evening also gave rise to speculation of a fresh bout of dissension, with KPCC president G Parameshwara staying away. That Siddaramaiah ensured all three ministerial berths went to his nominees is seen as reason for Parameshwara’s sulk.
MLCs H M Revanna, R B Timmapur and first-time legislator M C Mohana Kumari (Geetha Mahadeva Prasad) were inducted into the ministry.
While Revanna and Timmapur got cabinet rank, Geetha has been made Minister of State with independent charge. The choice of Reddy as Home Minister over Forest Minister Ramanath Rai is also seen as a safe bet.
The BJP had threatened to launch an agitation against the controversial Rai, who belongs to Dakshina Kannada district, if he was made the Home Minister. Though Siddaramaiah was reportedly keen on Rai to keep a check on the communal violence in the coast, he was advised against it.
While Revanna gets Transport, Timmapur has been assigned Excise. Small Scale Industries portfolio, which was with Ramesh Jarkiholi has been given to Geetha,who has also got Sugar portfolio, earlier held by her late husband H S Mahadeva Prasad.
In the minor reshuffle effected on Friday, Minister for Labour Santosh Lad got additional portfolio of Skill Development. Ramesh Jarkiholi has been given the Co-operation ministry, earlier held by Prasad.
The Chief Minister has also elevated Ministers of State Priyank Kharge, Pramod Madhwaraj, Eshwar Khandre and Rudrappa Lamani to Cabinet rank.
While Siddaramaiah has succeeded in having his way in the choice of new entrants to the ministry, he may not be able to wish away the discontent creeping in the party on account of that. Parameshwara, by staying away from the ceremony, sent a clear signal at his unhappiness with the developments.
Parameshwara was batting for Tiptur MLA K Shadakshari from his Tumakuru district under the Lingayat quota. But Siddaramaiah chose political novice Geetha. The next shock was the induction of Timmapur under the Dalit quota, earlier represented by Parameshwara.
Parameshwara, who had quit as Home Minister to focus on his job as KPCC chief, was reportedly eyeing the slot for Motamma. Moreover, he belongs to the right wing group of Dalit community while Timmapur belongs to the left. The recent nomination of C M Ibrahim, Siddaramaiah’s candidate, for the vacant Legislative Council seat too didn’t go down well with Parameshwara.