Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Retains IT/BT, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar Assigned Irrigation and Bengaluru Development

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Bengaluru: The finalization of portfolios in Karnataka took place late Sunday night, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah deciding to retain the IT/BT department following a dispute between two lawmakers who both desired it.

Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot approved the final list of portfolios after Siddaramaiah made several changes under pressure from ministers.

Initially, MB Patil was assigned the IT/BT portfolio along with Industries. However, there was a subsequent revision, and Priyank Kharge was given the responsibility of IT/BT along with Rural Development & Panchayat Raj. Patil expressed his interest in taking up the IT/BT portfolio, leading Siddaramaiah to retain it for now. It is likely that Patil will be allocated the portfolio in the future.

A similar back-and-forth occurred with the Kannada & Culture portfolio. Initially assigned to B Nagendra, who mentioned that he is not a native Kannada speaker, the portfolio has now been given to Shivaraj Tangadagi. In response to Nagendra’s demand, he has also been granted the ST Welfare portfolio, along with Youth Empowerment & Sports, as he belongs to the Valmiki community.

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar has been assigned the responsibility of Bengaluru City Development, becoming the fourth non-Bengaluru lawmaker in a row to oversee the city’s affairs.

During the JD(S)-Congress coalition, the position of Bengaluru minister was held by the then Deputy CM G Parameshwara (Koratagere). When the BJP came into power, BS Yediyurappa (Shikaripura) retained the Bengaluru portfolio, and subsequently, Basavaraj Bommai (Shiggaon) followed suit.

Parameshwara currently serves as the home minister, a position he held between 2015 and 2017.

Portfolios linked to specific guarantees

Ramalinga Reddy has been appointed as the transport minister to ensure the fulfillment of the Congress’ promise of free bus travel for women (Shakti). Although initially dissatisfied with the transport portfolio, he agreed after being given the additional responsibility of Muzrai.

Siddaramaiah’s aide KJ George will lead the energy department, which is under pressure to provide 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti). Senior leader KH Muniyappa will oversee the food & civil supplies department, which includes the Anna Bhagya program, providing 10 kg of free rice to every BPL member.

Laxmi Hebbalkar, an associate of Shivakumar, has been appointed as the head of the women & child development department, tasked with developing a plan to provide Rs 2,000 per month to all female heads of households (Gruha Lakshmi).

Santosh Lad has been assigned the role of Labour minister to oversee the implementation of the unemployment allowance (Yuva Nidhi), while Dr Sharanaprakash Patil will be responsible for skill development.

Lawmakers reportedly faced some resistance in taking up portfolios linked to specific guarantees.

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