Bangalore, May 18: The mood was surprisingly muted or one should say sober considering that the Congress was returning to power after almost eight years.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inducted 28 ministers into his ministry today and the 30-odd minutes of swearing ceremony was business like in contrast to the festivities of last Monday when Siddaramaiah himself took oath at a stadium. The chief minister had been sworn in at the function attended by many public figures and thousands of Congress supporters.
Governor H R Bhardwaj was at ease and looked pleasingly relaxed. One should remember that Bhardwaj is a former Congress man and should have been happy to swear in a Congress ministry.
Siddaramaiah should thank his stars that the Congress did not get a thumping majority because every ministry formation sows seeds of discontent and dissidence. He had to deal with the demands of only 121 MLAs. Only murmur of protest was from DK Shivkumar and from Tanvir Sait, the chief minister's fellow Mysorean (elected from Narasimharaja). Tanvir's father Aziz Sait served in most of the Congress ministries.
The chief minister took time to introduce many ministers to the governor and dissuaded some of them from touching his feet. Siddaramaiah is a declared atheist and also new to Congress culture of sycophancy.
Joining Siddaramaiah in his cabinet are those who shared his bench in the Legislative Assembly. TB Jayachandra was his deputy and sat next to him on the first bench, V Srinivas Prasad also often occupied the seat on the same bench, while HC Mahadevappa and HS Mahadeva Prasad sat behind Siddaramaiah and Jayachandra.
As the ministers took oath in batches, their family members were struggling to catch the moment on their mobile phone cameras. The bright sun, dwarfed by the wide smiles of happy families, played on the mobile screens and challenged the skills of the snappy public.
The cabinet ministers are: R.V. Deshpande, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, TB Jayachandra, Ramalinga Reddy, Prakash Hukkeri, Qamarul Islam, HK Patil, V Srinivas Prasad, HC Mahadevappa, HS Mahadeva Prasad, KJ George, Vinay Kumar Sorake, Ramanath Rai, Baburao Chinchanasur, MH Ambareesh, Shivaraj Thangadagi, UT Khader, MB Patil, Satish Jharkiholi and H Anjaneya.
The ministers of state are: Dinesh Gundu Rao, Krishna Byregowda, Sharan Prakash Patil, K Abhay Chandra Jain, Umashree, T Parameshwar Naik, Santosh Lad and Kimmane Ratnakara.