Karnataka coalition ministry to start working from Monday

Bengaluru:The fledgling JD-S-Congress coalition government in Karnataka would start working from Monday, as most of the cabinet ministers went to their constituencies for the week-end, said an official on Saturday.

“As government offices are closed on second Saturday and the support staff were also on leave at the state secretariat here, the 25 new cabinet ministers will work from Monday,” the senior official told IANS, preferring anonymity.

Of the 25 ministers, 14 are from Congress and 9 from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and one each from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP), which are allies of both the coalition partners.

Though all the cabinet ministers took oath on Wednesday, portfolios were allocated on Friday night, as many of them were vying for high-profile posts between the alliance partners.

“As portfolio allocation got delayed by 2 days and the ministers were unaware of them till Friday night, they decided to assume charge on Monday when offices re-open after the weekend break,” said the official.

As per the agreement between the alliance partners, the cabinet posts and portfolios are shared in the ratio of 21:11, with the Congress getting 21, including the Deputy Chief Minister rank, as it has 78 legislators in the hung assembly, and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-) 11, including Chief Minister rank, as it has 36 lawmakers.

JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy and Congress state unit president G. Parameshwara were sworn-in as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister on May 23.

The Congress has six more cabinet berths and the JD-S one more to fill in the 34-member ministry, which is 15 per cent of the 225-member assembly strength.

In a related development, Kumaraswamy advised his party ministers G.T. Devegowda and C.S. Puttaraju to work with the portfolios they were allocated than seeking change.

Devegowda, who studied only up to 8th standard, has been allocated Higher Education and Puttaraju Minior Irrigation though he wanted Transport.

“Even I have studied only up to degree (B.Sc). Yet, I am the Chief Minister. It is not education qualification or which portfolio that matters. All posts give same opportunity to work and serve the people. Is there a better department than Higher Education and Minor Irrigation to work?” Kumaraswamy told reporters here later.