Bangalore, May 18: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is going in for a kill and finish BJP in coastal areas. This is reflected in his ministry making. Siddaramaiah today inducted 28 members - 20 of cabinet rank and eight ministers of state - into his five-day-old ministry.
Though he has usual suspects in the cabinet, four strong ministers from coastal region and more than seven from central Karnataka speaks of strong thrust to remove any remaining influence of BJP in these areas.
The saffron party had good run in coastal areas and in central Karnataka before this month's elections. It had been routed in 2013 polls and Siddaramaiah would like to go for the kill for the 2014 polls. For this reason he has inducted youthful UT Khadar (Ullal MLA), Dakshin Kannada Congress unit chief B Ramanath Rai, Kaup's strongman Vinay Kumar Sorake and Abhaychandra Jain from Moodbidri.
Khadar has family legacy (his father UT Fareed was four-term MLA) and reputation for maintaing communal peace in Mangalore despite repeated provocations. For the record, Khadar has won two regular elections and one byelection (after his father's death in 2007)
On the other hand, Rai has already declared war on the saffron outfits and during poll campaign he had said his real opponent was local RSS chief and not BJP candidate.
Vinay Kumar Sorake had his baptism in Youth Congress and has been a Lok Sabha Member. He knows the coastal politics from the grassroots and can be a potent force for the Congress. Add the experienced and highly networked R V Deshpande (Haliyal) to the ministers brigade in the region, and you have an A-team.
The seven ministers from central Karnataka will also add ammunition to Siddaramaiah's campaign for 2014 and consolidate the Congress in the region.
Prakash Hukkeri (Chikkodi-Sadalaga), Shamanur Shivashankarappa (Davanagere south), H K Patil (Gadag), Sathish Jarkhiholi (Yamakanamaradi), M B Patil (Obaleshwar), Santosh Lad (Kalghatagi) and P T Parameshwara Naik (Hagaribommanahalli) make a strong representation of the area.
This includes family clout of Shamanur Shivashankarappa and HK Patil. It also can call on the youth power of Santhosh Lad. The eight member of team Shivaraj Thangadagi (Kanakgiri) is a new recruit of the party with age as advantage.
In fact, Thangadagi is the only minister, who had also served in the previous BJP ministry. He was a BJP member but became independent when he was denied ticket. He remained independent and minister during BJP regime. Thangadagi joined the Congress just before the elections.
Two regions that have inadequate representation are north Karnataka and Malnad. With JDS in overdrive, north Karnataka should have been on Siddaramaiah's radar. The region has veteran Qamarul Islam and young and intelligent doctor, Sharan Prakash Patil, as ministers. Is initial threat to Siddaramaiah from Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge responsible for such a treatment of the region?
Malnad has only one minister Kimmane Ratnakar from Teerthahalli. The region will orphaned as under BJP, both BS Yeddyurappa and KS Eashwarappa had kept it under development focus.
As has been practice for sometimes, Bangalore city has got good number of ministerial berths. Two cabinet and two state ministers represent the IT capital. Cabinet ministers Ramalinga Reddy and KJ George are old hands but the city may need the youth energy of Dinesh Gundurao and Krishna Byregowda, the state rank ministers.
There is still room for improvement as the ministry now has five vacancies as Siddaramaiah can accommodate a total of 33 ministers.
Cabinet ministers: R V Deshpande (Haliyal), T B Jayachandra (Sira), Qamarul Islam (Gulbarga north), Prakash Hukkeri (Chikkodi-Sadalaga), Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout), B Ramanath Rai (Bantwal), Shamanur Shivashankarappa (Davanagere south), H K Patil (Gadag), V Srinivas Prasad (Nanjangud), Dr H C Mahadevappa (T Narasipur), H S Mahadeva Prasad (Gundlupet), Baburao Chinchansur (Gurmitkal), Ambareesh (Mandya), Vinay Kumar Sorake (Kaup), K J George (Sarvajna Nagar), U T Khadar (Ullal, Mangalore), Shivaraj Tangadagi (Kanakagiri), H Anjaneya (Holalkere), Sathish Jarkhiholi (Yamakanamaradi), and M B Patil (Babaleshwar ).
Ministers of state: Abhay Chandra Jain (Moodbidri), Dinesh Gundu Rao (Gandhinagar), Krishnabyre Gowda (Byatarayanapura), Sharan Prakash Patil (Sedam), Umashree (Terdal), Santosh Lad (Kalghatagi), Kimmane Ratnakar (Teerthahalli), and P T Parameshwara Naik (Hagaribommanahalli).