Karnataka CM inducts two "tainted" legislators into ministry

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Bangalore, Jan 1: Shedding his reported reluctance, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today inducted two senior "tainted" legislators into his nearly eight-month old Ministry, apparently bowing to the Congress high command.

Former Congress state unit working president D K Shivakumar and Roshan Baig, who are viewed as "scam tainted", were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor H R Bhardwaj at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan here. The third ministry expansion comes after Siddramaiah had reportedly resisted for several months induction of Shivakumar and Baig who lobbied hard with Congress high command to make it to the ministry.

Baig, facing land grab charge, was a minister in the S M Krishna Government and had to resign after his name was linked to Karim Telgi stamp paper scam in 2003.

Shivakumar is haunted by allegations of illegal mining and land scam. Siddharamaiah said he inducted Baig and Shivakumar after consulting Congress President Sonia Gandhi but denied suggestions that he was under pressure. Shivakumar was accommodated to woo the Vokkaliga community, to which he belongs, and Baig to placate the minorities, ruling Congress sources said, explaining the exercise which also spelt additional trouble for Siddaramaiah with several ministerial aspirants unhappy at being excluded.

The induction of Shivakumar and Baig came in just a month after Siddaramaiah secured the resignation of mining baron Santosh Lad as minister over allegations of illegal mining to keep the ministry taint free. Putting up a brave face, Siddaramaiah said he was not unhappy about the induction of Baig and Shivakumar but had to expand the cabinet.

"Their induction will help the party in Lok Sabha elections in the state." KPCC President G Parameshwara said "induction of Shivakumar and Baig was under consideration. The high command has finally taken a decision. The high command has decided to fill the two slots."


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