Bangalore: Karnataka's new government headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took shape today when 28 ministers were sworn into the state Cabinet by Governor HR Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore.
The team is a mix of old and new faces -- it includes seniors RV Deshpande and actor-turned-politician Ambareesh and young leaders like Dinesh Gundu Rao and Krishna Byre Gowda. There is a lone woman representative, actress Umashree. There's a prominent omission -- senior leader DK Shivakumar. (See full list here)
The new Cabinet wasted no time and held its first meeting this afternoon. Veteran Congress leader Kagodu Thimmappa has been chosen Speaker and the Assembly session is expected to begin on May 29.
Upon taking charge on May 13, the 64-year-old Mr Siddaramaiah had said that his priority was to ensure a "stable and able administration" and those with a clean image would find a place in his council of ministers.
Putting together this Cabinet was his first big test, given the regional and caste considerations he had to accommodate. Earlier this week, the newly-minted Chief Minister visited New Delhi to consult with party chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress No 2 Rahul Gandhi about the composition of his cabinet. The duo is said to have vetted potential ministerial candidates.
"We have not kept anybody out. Whatever the cabinet we wanted, high command has approved it. That cabinet is formed," Mr Siddaramaiah said today.
The Congress had campaigned against the incumbent BJP government in the state, which was undermined by scams and dissidence, on an anti-corruption platform. It won a handsome mandate in the May 5 state elections, winning 121 seats in the 225-member Assembly. The ball is now in the new Cabinet's court to deliver on the promise of change and efficient governance.