Siddaramaiah Takes Charge as K’taka CM, Orders Rs 2k Aid for Women, Free Rice for BPL Houses


Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah took the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka in a lavish ceremony in Bengaluru on Saturday. The newly formed government conducted its inaugural Cabinet meeting and provisionally agreed to implement its electoral commitments including Rs 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).

State Congress President D K Shivakumar was officially sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister, along with eight other legislators who were appointed as Ministers. The newly appointed ministers include G Parameshwara, K H Muniyappa, K J George, M B Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, Priyank Kharge (son of AICC President M Mallikarjun Kharge), Ramalinga Reddy, and B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan.

Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and his Cabinet at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the same venue where Siddaramaiah had taken his oath in 2013 when he first became Chief Minister.

‘Inclusive’ Cabinet

A day after reports of an “inclusive” Cabinet with representations from all communities, it was confirmed that out of the eight MLAs, three belong to the SC community. Additionally, there is one representative each from the Christian, Lingayat, ST, Reddy, and Muslim communities. Siddaramaiah, comes from the Kuruba community, while the Deputy Chief Minister, Shivakumar, hails from the Vokkaliga community.

According to sources within the Congress party, the list of eight ministers was approved by the party high command. Initially, there were plans to include a larger number of legislators in the cabinet. However, it is reported that there were disagreements between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar over some names, leading to discussions held in New Delhi until late last night regarding the composition of the cabinet.

First Cabinet Meeting

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Hours within the swearing-in ceremony, the new government held its first Cabinet meeting, where it granted “in-principle” approval to the Congress party’s five guarantees promised prior to the elections.

Siddaramaiah, addressing a press conference, provided estimates and stated that fulfilling these electoral commitments would result in an annual expenditure of approximately Rs 50,000 crore from the state treasury. He emphasised that despite any potential financial implications, the government remains committed to implementing the pre-election assurances.

Rs 2,000 Aid for Woman, 10 kg Free Rice Among Cong’s 5 ‘Guarantees’

On their first day in power, the Congress party pledged to implement several key guarantees. These include providing 200 units of free electricity to all households (Gruha Jyoti), offering monthly assistance of Rs 2,000 to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), distributing 10 kg of rice free of cost to each member of below-poverty-line households (Anna Bhagya), granting Rs 3,000 per month to unemployed graduate youth and Rs 1,500 to unemployed diploma holders (aged 18-25) for a duration of two years (YuvaNidhi), and ensuring free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti).

Siddaramaiah, who chaired the cabinet meeting, said the ‘guarantees’ would “most likely” be implemented after the next cabinet meeting.

The chief minister announced that the Assembly would convene for three days starting from May 22, during which the newly elected MLAs would take their oaths. The election for the Speaker’s position is also scheduled to take place soon.

‘Due to PM Modi, K’taka Suffered Loss of Rs 5,495-cr Special Grant’

Launching an attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government, he alleged the state suffered a loss as its legitimate special grant of Rs 5,495 crore mentioned in the interim report of the 15th Finance Commission was not provided.

Noting that Union Finance Minister and Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka Nirmala Sitharaman removed it from the final report, he said, “Because of Narendra Modi, Karnataka suffered a loss.”

Siddaramaiah Faces Balancing Act in Cabinet Formation

With a sanctioned strength of 34, there are numerous contenders vying for ministerial positions in the Karnataka Cabinet. In the days to come, Siddaramaiah is expected to face the challenging task of allocating portfolios to the newly appointed Ministers and expanding the cabinet with a careful balance of representatives from various communities, regions, factions, as well as both the veteran and new generation of legislators.

The challenge comes after Congress party resolved the impasse by announcing Siddaramaiah as the next Chief Minister and Shivakumar as his sole deputy, putting an end to the deadlock on Thursday. Subsequently, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) formally elected Siddaramaiah as its leader in a meeting. Following this, he approached the Governor and staked his claim to form the government, which was accepted.

Opposition Unity at Swearing In Ceremony

The swearing-in ceremony was held in the presence of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, former party president Rahul Gandhi, and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. However, former AICC president Sonia Gandhi was absent. Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh), and Sukhvinder Singh Sukku (Himachal Pradesh), along with several prominent party leaders, also attended the event.

The ceremony exhibited a friendly and cordial atmosphere, with the participation of Chief Ministers M K Stalin (Tamil Nadu), Hemant Soren (Jharkhand), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), and Tejashwi Yadav (Deputy CM-Bihar). Notable leaders from other political parties were present as well, including 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the Quad and G7 Summits in Japan, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and former Karnataka chief minsiter Basavaraj Bommai congratulated Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar on their appointment as CM and Deputy CM.

In the elections held on May 10 for the 224-member Assembly, the Congress party achieved a resounding victory by winning 135 seats. The ruling BJP secured 66 seats, while the Janata Dal (Secular) led by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda secured 19 seats.



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