Karnataka gets five Union ministers

Though the saffron party members won from the coastal region, they are all first-time MPs and have not been included in the ministry.
MP Pralhad Joshi meets BJP leader B S Yediyurappa and fellow MP BY Raghavendra before being sworn-in as minister, in New Delhi on Sunday.
MP Pralhad Joshi meets BJP leader B S Yediyurappa and fellow MP BY Raghavendra before being sworn-in as minister, in New Delhi on Sunday.| Express

BENGALURU: As Karnataka has elected 19 National Democratic Alliance MPs, the highest from South India, it was on Sunday rewarded with five ministerial posts in the Modi 3.0 cabinet. Of the five ministers, including Rajya Sabha member Nirmala Sitharaman, two are women.

Apart from Nirmala, the four other ministers are Pralhad Joshi, JDS state president HD Kumaraswamy, Shobha Karandlaje and V Somanna. While Nirmala, Joshi and Kumaraswamy have cabinet rank, the other two are ministers of state. Interestingly, Kumaraswamy was among the first few MPs to take oath in New Delhi on Sunday evening.

Of the 293 NDA MPs, the state’s contribution of 19 MPs constituted over 6 per cent and the number of ministries too is above that mark, considering that the Modi cabinet has 72 ministers.

Even among these five ministers, the representation to the Old Mysore region is more. Kumaraswamy represents Mandya, Shobha Bangalore North and Somanna Tumkur. Joshi, who has been reinducted, is the only MP from North Karnataka. This could be because of the lacklustre performance of BJP in these parts. Though the saffron party members won from the coastal region, they are all first-time MPs and have not been included in the ministry.

Joshi, who has the Sangh Parivar background and is the fifth time MP, had served as Law and Parliamentary minister in the previous government. Shobha, the first-ever woman MP from Bengaluru, had served as a minister of state.

Somanna, who was with Congress and JDS, joined BJP in 2009 and has stayed with the party since then. After suffering a defeat from two constituencies in the last Assembly polls, he won the parliamentary polls this time from Tumkur. His loyalty to the party has paid off with a ministerial berth.

Kumaraswamy, who is JDS state president, became a chief minister for the first time in 2006, thanks to his party’s alliance with BJP. But as per the power-sharing agreement between the two parties then, he refused to transfer power to BJP’s BS Yediyurappa in 2007, ending the coalition. The fallout was ugly and the two parties had kept their distance since then. But the 2023 Assembly polls were a wake-up call to the regional party as it won mere 19 seats. Fearing a complete meltdown, the party tied up with BJP for the Lok Sabha polls and Kumaraswamy helped BJP get a good number of seats in the Old Mysuru region.

Breaking down the caste equation, two Brahmins (Joshi and Nirmala), two Vokkaligas (Kumaraswamy and Shobha) and one Lingayat (Somanna), have made it to the Modi ministry.

Sources from BJP said that though two Vokkaligas have been given the honour, only Shobha is originally from BJP. Asked why former chief ministers Basavaraj Bommai and Jagadish Shettar were not inducted, they said, “Since both are former CMs, they cannot be made ministers of state.”

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