Karnataka: First-timers likely to dominate new govt

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New Delhi, May 18: First-time ministers are likely to dominate the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka which came to power after the recent assembly elections.

Sources said the Congress may keep out DK Shiva Kumar from the Cabinet for his alleged involvement in a land allotment case and his family interest in mining and real estate. Kumar, a Vokkaliga leader and former Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, was the urban development minister in the S M Krishna government. Mining baron Anil Lad may also not find a berth in the ministry, sources said.

The Congress leadership is said to be very cautious while dealing with the mining families after witnessing how scams in this sector led to the pathetic downfall of the previous regime, led by the BJP.

AICC sources said party chief Sonia Gandhi has prescribed a list of do's and don'ts for the new chief minister, asking him to remain careful about corruption and favouritism in the government. The Congress returned to power after seven years after the BJP suffered a serious loss in the polls.

The Congress is also said to be wary of Siddaramaiah's style of functioning, given his "Lohiaite" background. The leadership has reportedly advised him to carry all factions with him and avoid over-reliance on the bureaucracy. Siddaramaiah emerged as the preferred choice for the top post after PCC chief G Parameshwara lost the election.

Senior AICC sources said a 30-member ministry may be sworn in on Saturday with three berths remaining vacant. There will be no deputy chief ministers in the government.

Five ministers each from the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities, the two largest in the state could be accommodated to balance the dominant groups that were sidelined during the OBC-dalit-minority formula of the party in the polls.

Sources said the plan to swear in many debutants might have an influence of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The debutants are, however, likely to be multiple-term MLAs. Some senior ministers in the past like Malak Reddy and K B Koliwad are unlikely to get a berth while H K Patil is set to get a Cabinet rank along with M B Patil, a five-term MLA.

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