The week-old Congress government expanded its cabinet in Karnataka by filling all the remaining 24 ministerial slots in one go on Saturday.
Ending days of speculation over the list of ministers, the Congress went for a mix of seniority and youth, apart from giving sufficient representation to most of the influential communities that helped the party come to power with 135 of the 224 Assembly seats.
Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 24 ministers.
Eight ministers had been sworn in on May 20 along with chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar.
While 23 of the newly sworn-in ministers are MLAs, the party sprang a surprise by picking N.S. Boseraju, who is neither an MLA nor an MLC.
A native of Raichur who was part of the two Houses of the state legislature at different times, Boseraju is a committed Congress worker and organiser. His name was among the few that the party high command had cleared on Friday.
He is likely to be elected to the Upper House since several vacancies would have to be filled in the coming months.
Among those who took oath as ministers were former state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao, state working president Eshwar Khandre, H.K. Patil, H.C. Mahadevappa, N. Chaluvarayaswamy, Krishna Byre Gowda, Laxmi Hebbalkar and Madhu Bangarappa.
The party high command also gave the nod to appoint C. Puttarangashetty as the deputy Speaker of the Assembly, which had already elected U.T. Khader as the Speaker.
Siddaramaiah later told reporters that the portfolios would be allocated either later on Saturday or Sunday.
“We have formed a full cabinet of 34 ministers. We did not induct any first-time MLAs as ministers. There is a mix of new faces and old faces,” the chief minister said.
While past governments have always kept a couple of berths vacant, mainly to accommodate disgruntled elements, Siddaramaiah said that his government had a lot of work to do.
“We formed a full cabinet since we have to fulfil the promises made to the people,” he said, adding the five guarantees would be implemented at the next cabinet meeting, likely in the coming week.
“The next cabinet meeting will take the decision to implement the five guarantees given to the people,” he said, dismissing Opposition threats to launch agitations if they were not rolled out immediately.
Suicide by 5th student in Kota in a month
A 16-year-old NEET aspirant allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her uncle’s home in the Kota Thermal Power Plant colony on Saturday.
Family members of Sakshi Choudhary, a Class XII student, said that average performance in her Class X board exams could be the reason behind the extreme step, police said.
The latest incident is the fifth suicide by a coaching student in Kota this month and the tenth this year so far.
Last year, 15 coaching students died by suicide in the coaching hub.
More than 2.25 lakh students are estimated to be taking classes in various coaching centres in the city this academic session to crack entrance exams of medical and engineering colleges.