BENGALURU: As part of the massive rejig of the Union Council of Ministers, four parliamentarians from Karnataka were inducted as ministers of state on Wednesday. Three-time Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar, two-time Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Lok Sabha member Shobha Karandlaje, two-time MP from Bidar Bhagwanth Khuba and first-time MP from Chitradurga A Narayanaswamy took oath along with 39 other new Union ministers on Wednesday.
Shobha Karandlaje is MoS agriculture and farmer welfare, Rajeev Chandrashekhar MoS skill development and entrepreneurship as well as electronics and information technology, Narayanaswamy MoS social justice and empowerment, and Bhagwanth Khuba MoS for new and renewable energy, chemicals and fertilisers.Hours before the swearing-in, a senior minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet and former chief minister of Karnataka DV Sadananda Gowda resigned from his ministerial post.
With the induction of four new MPs from Karnataka, the State now has six ministers in the union council of ministers, including Rajya Sabha member Nirmala Sitharaman and Lok Sabha member Pralhad Joshi.
Shobha, who has served as a legislator and minister in Karnataka, has been an RSS member for decades and is rooted in the party’s ideology. Her induction comes as a replacement to Sadananda Gowda under Vokkaliga representation. She was expected to make it to the central cabinet in 2019 when the Modi-led NDA government returned to power at the Centre. Instead, Sadananda Gowda was allowed to continue.
A state BJP vice-president, Shobha had been a staunch loyalist of CM BS Yediyurappa. She had quit BJP with him in 2013 to form the Karnataka Janata Party and later returned to BJP along with him. But since Yediyurapa took charge as CM, she has been maintaining a distance from him. Sources said she was picked over Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, who was vying for a Union cabinet berth.
Khuba was a novice to politics when he contested against Congress heavyweight Dharam Singh from Bidar in 2014. He won that election and the next one, riding the Modi wave. A Lingayat, he is expected to fill the gap left behind by late Suresh Angadi in the cabinet. The luckiest of them all seems to be A Narayanaswamy. He was handpicked by Home Minister Amit Shah to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Party sources suggested that BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh had a big role to play in choosing these ministerial candidates.