The Congress party is all set to form a new government in Karnataka as veteran Congress leader Siddharamaiah will be swearing-in as the Chief Minister on Saturday - May 20 at 12.30 pm. Along with Siddharamaiah, the initial part of his cabinet will also take oath to office as Congress kickstarts a new political beginning from the South by ousting the BJP regime.
Amidst celebrating the landslide victory in the recently-held Karnataka assembly polls, the Congress party has also decided to roll out a swearing-in ceremony that would possibly be a turning point for the party in uniting all the like-minded leaders ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls to unseat the Modi administration from power. As a prelude to the show of national coalition during the general elections, several leaders from across the country will take part in the swearing-in ceremony.
The assembly poll in Karnataka was held on May 10 and the results were declared on May 13. Though the Congress party has secured a clear majority by winning 135 seats in the 224-seated assembly, the Chief Ministerial candidate was not known immediately, rather there were events of chaos as both the senior leaders Siddharamaiah and DK Shivakumar locked horns for the Chief Ministerial post. There were several rounds of talks and deliberations to reach the consensus and the swearing-in ceremony, which was initially planned to take place on May 18, was deferred.
Finally, the Congress high command on Thursday announced that 75-year-old Siddharamaiah will be the new Chief Minister while his contender DK Shivakumar will be the Deputy Chief Minister. Additionally, Shivakumar has also got the token of continuing as the Karnataka Congress unit chief till the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. As both the contenders came out in solidarity, the party announced that the swearing-in ceremony will be held on May 20 and moved on to the next stop: picking the cabinet ministers.
For the past two days, the Congress high command had held intense talks with Siddharamaiah and Shivakumar over picking the ministers to serve in the cabinet. On Saturday, hours ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, the party has officially divulged about the ministerial picks and released the list of eight ministers who would take oath on Saturday and would form an initial level of cabinet. As per the norm, Karnataka's cabinet can consist of 30 ministers.
While eight will swear-in today, the rest of the berths will be filled in the coming days. The initial list of ministers has veterans and newbies. Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge's son Priyank Kharge is among the initial list and he would be entering the cabinet for the first time. The other seven MLAs, in the list, who would become Karnataka ministers are G Parameshwara, KH Muniyappa, KJ George, MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, Ramalinga Reddy, and BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan.
It has been reported that about ten berths in the cabinet have been allotted to Shivakumar's supporters. The Congress party has also planned to let four cabinet berths vacant for now. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru at 12.30 pm and Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot will be administering the oath to Siddharamaiah, DK Shivakumar, and other ministers.
A league of leaders would attend the ceremony
As Congress party has recorded a thumping victory that would boost its political course, the ceremony has been arranged in a fashion that a league of leaders from across the country would join the celebrations. The ceremony would have the presence of Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi and Congress Chief Ministers like Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Bhupesh Baghel of Chattisgarh, and Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu of Himachal Pradesh.
Besides these senior leaders and Congress Chief Ministers, the ceremony would also have the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah.
It has been reported that while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was invited, she would not be taking part owing to her prior commitments. Telangana's Chandrasekhar Rao would also miss the event, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wasn't invited. Notably, Siddharamaiah has a personal connect with Kanteerava Stadium as it was the venue where he took oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for the first time in 2013. Now, a decade later, he is all set for his second term, which will be closely-watched across the nation due to Congress party's major electoral promises.