Karnataka: Siddaramaiah sworn in as CM; top Oppn leaders in attendance

Soon after the swearing-in ceremony, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi announced that all five guarantees announced by their party will be implemented in the first cabinet meeting

Karnataka guarantees Congress
In the maiden Cabinet meeting on May 20, shortly after the swearing-in, the government accorded “in-principle” approval to the five guarantees | Photo: Twitter/ CM of Karnataka

In a glittering ceremony in the heart of Bengaluru, Congress leader Siddaramaiah took oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Saturday (May 20).

Soon after the swearing-in ceremony, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi announced that all five guarantees announced by their party will be implemented in the first cabinet meeting.

The oath was administered by Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. It is the same venue where Siddaramaiah took oath in 2013, when he became chief minister for the first time.

Congress president DK Shivakumar (Deputy CM) and eight legislators as Ministers were also sworn in.

List of ministers sworn in

The legislators who were sworn in as Ministers are: G Parameshwara (SC), KH Muniyappa (SC), KJ George (Minority-Christian), MB Patil (Lingayat), Satish Jarkiholi (ST-Valmiki), Priyank Kharge (SC and AICC president M Mallikarjun Kharge’s son), Ramalinga Reddy (Reddy), and BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan (Minority-Muslim).

Also read: Picked as CLP leader, Siddaramaiah rushes to meet Governor, stakes claim to form govt

The Congress on Thursday (May 18) named Siddaramaiah as the next Chief Minister and 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 (May 18) 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.

Siddaramaiah’s second term as CM

The 75-year-old Siddaramaiah will become the Chief Minister for the second term after his earlier five-year stint from 2013; while 61-year-old Shivakumar, who had earlier worked as a Minister under Siddaramaiah, will also continue as the party’s Karnataka state president till the parliamentary elections next year.

The first daunting task that Siddaramaiah is expected to face is putting in place a cabinet with the right combination 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.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, Chief Ministers of Congress ruled states Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) and Sukhvinder Singh Sukku (Himachal Pradesh) and several top party leaders attended the ceremony. However, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi could not attend the event apparently due to health reasons.

Show of strength for Opposition

The event turned out to be a show of strength for the Opposition parties amid unity efforts to take on the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Kharge had invited leaders of several like-minded parties for the swearing-in ceremony.

Also read: Karnataka: Stalin, KCR, Mamata, Naveen, Akhilesh among invitees to May 20 swearing-in

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, NCP president Sharad Pawar, National Conference supremo Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mahbooba Mufti, actor-politician Kamal Haasan, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI General Secretary D Raja among others attended the event.

Govt may implement five guarantees in first cabinet meeting

There are expectations that the new government might take measures to implement the five guarantees in the first cabinet meeting after the swearing-in.

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.

Also read: How Congress broke the deadlock over Karnataka leadership row

“Fulfilling the promises made to the people is our first priority,” the Deputy Chief Minister-designate Shivakumar said on Friday (May 19).

Elaborate security measures were put in place in and around the venue to ensure that the event passed off smoothly without any hurdles amid the presence of several national-level leaders and those from other states. A total of three platforms/stages were set up and LED screens were installed for people to watch the swearing-in ceremony.

(With agency inputs)