The stage is set for the swearing-in of the next government of Karnataka, with chief minister-designate Siddaramaiah, his to-be deputy DK Shivakumar and the selected cabinet of ministers ready to take their oaths on Saturday (May 20).
Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar (DKS) flew down to New Delhi on Friday (May 19) to finalise the list of ministers for the Karnataka cabinet with the party high command and invite Congress leaders to the oath-taking ceremony.
As per a release by the Congress, senior leaders G. Parameshwara, KH Muniyappa, KJ George, MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, Priyank Kharge, Ramalinga Reddy, and BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan will be sworn in as Cabinet ministers along with Siddaramaiah and DKS.
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It will be Siddaramaiah second term as chief minister.
Congress chief M Mallikarjun Kharge has also invited leaders of several like-minded parties for the swearing-in ceremony, which will see Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administering the oath of office and secrecy to the chief minister and his cabinet at 12.30 PM at Bengaluru’s Kanteerava Stadium.
It is the same place Siddaramaiah took oath in 2013, when he became chief minister for the first time.
Like-minded parties invited
Kharge, former Congress presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, several Congress chief ministers and leaders are expected to attend the event.
The event is also expected to turn out into a show of strength for opposition parties amid unity efforts to take on the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
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Kharge has invited Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Invitations have also been sent to National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, among others.
Reports quoting Congress sources said that while Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee may skip the event due to prior engagements, the Congress has not invited leaders like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, their Kerala and Andhra counterparts Pinarayi Vijayan and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy respectively as well as Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.
The Congress on Thursday named Siddaramaiah as the next Chief Minister and state PCC chief Shivakumar, a strong contender for the top post, as his only deputy, ending the tense deadlock after prolonged parleys involving its central leadership.
A meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) later on Thursday formally elected Siddaramaiah as its leader and Chief Minister, following which he staked his claim with the Governor, who invited him to form the government.
The 75-year-old will become the chief minister for the second time after his earlier five-year stint from 2013. While 61-year-old Shivakumar, who had earlier worked as Minister under Siddaramaiah, will also continue as the party’s Karnataka state president till Parliamentary elections are over next year.
The first daunting task that Siddaramaiah is expected to face is putting in place a cabinet with the right combinations that will strike a balance in having representatives from all communities, regions, factions, and also from among the old and new generation of legislators.
With the sanctioned strength of the Karnataka Cabinet being 34, there are too many aspirants for ministerial berths.
It is expected that at the first cabinet meeting after the swearing-in tomorrow, the new government might take measures to implement five guarantees.
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The Congress has promised to implement the guarantees 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), ₹2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya), ₹3,000 every month for graduate youth and ₹1,500 for diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (YuvaNidhi), and free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti), on the very first day of assuming power in the state.
“Fulfilling the promises made to the people is our first priority,” the Deputy Chief Minister-designate Shivakumar said on Friday.
Elaborate security measures have been put in place in and around the venue to ensure that the event goes on smoothly without any hurdles amid the presence of several national level leaders and those from other states, officials said and added that traffic movement will also have to be managed as the event will take place in the heart of the city.
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According to sources, a total of three platforms/stages have been set up and LED screens have been installed for people to watch the swearing-in ceremony.
(With inputs from agencies)