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After Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar power play, the first 8 to make it to Congress ministry

In the Congress party’s Karnataka ministry, eight ministers were sworn in along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D K Shivakumar on Saturday.

The Congress had initially planned to get its virtually full ministry sworn in on the first day itself, looking to induct as many as 28 ministers, but the list was pruned to eight due to last-minute differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar as they batted for the induction of their respective loyalists. The party hopes to name the rest of the ministers in the coming days.

The first batch of eight ministers inducted showcase the rainbow coalition of castes and communities that helped the Congress win the polls. Of them, four are Siddaramaiah loyalists, one is close to Shivakumar and three chosen by the high command.

🔴 G Parameshwara

Former KPCC chief, educationist

A member of the SC (Right) community, G Parameshwara, 71, who has a doctorate in agricultural sciences (plant physiology) from the University of Adelaide in Australia, is the son of a former legislator and educationist Gangadharaiah H M.

Parameshwara is also an educationist and runs the Siddhartha group of institutions started by his father in the Tumkur region in the 1960s. The group runs a leading private medical college. He was a late entrant to politics in the 1990s at the behest of Rajiv Gandhi.

Parameshwara was the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president when the state went to the Assembly polls in 2013. He was then among the party front-runners for the CM’s post. He however lost his election from the Koratagere constituency, thereby losing the CM race to Siddaramaiah even as the party clinched the polls.

During the recent chief ministerial tussle between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar following the party’s victory in the 2023 polls, Parameshwara quipped that a similar crisis could have arisen in 2013 if he had won his election.

Parameshwara was rewarded for his previous work as the KPCC president in 2018 when the Congress formed a coalition government with the JD(S). He was then appointed as the Deputy CM in the JD(S)-led coalition government. He was aspiring to become the CM or the DCM this time too, but was overlooked due to the Siddaramaiah-Shivakumar face-off. He was the first minister to be sworn in after Siddaramaiah and

Shivakumar took their oaths of office.

🔴 K H Muniyappa

7-time MP, ex-Union minister

The seven-time Congress MP from the Kolar region, K H Muniyappa, 75, made his debut in the state Assembly polls this time from the Devanahalli seat in the Bengaluru Rural region.

A member of the most backward SC Left community, Muniyappa had been the Congress MP from 1991 to 2019 from Kolar. He was a minister in the Congress-led UPA governments at the Centre during 2004-2014.

He lost to a BJP candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Kolar despite the BJP having little strength in the region, which was attributed to an “anti-incumbency” against him besides the “Modi wave”. He had also blamed his rivals within the Congress for his defeat.

Muniyappa has also been among the CM aspirants in the Karnataka Congress. His daughter Roopakala Shashidhar is a two-term Congress MLA from the KGF belt.

The Congress leadership reportedly gave the choice of becoming a minister in the new Siddaramaiah-led Cabinet to Muniyappa as a toss-up between him and his daughter, with the veteran leader deciding to become a minister for the first time in the state.

🔴 Priyank Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge’s son, Congress spokesman

Priyank Kharge, 44, son of the All India Congress Committee (AICC)’s president Mallikarjun Kharge, is a Congress spokesperson and ex-minister, who had been at the forefront of attacking the BJP on various issues when the saffron party was in power in Karnataka from 2019 to 2023.

Priyank first contested the Chittapur seat in 2009 in a bypoll after his father, who won the seat in 2008, was elected to the Lok Sabha. He lost the election to the BJP’s candidate Valmiki Naik by less than 2.000 votes. He however defeated Naik in 2013 by over 30,000 votes and in 2018 by 4,393 votes.

In this election the BJP went all out to ensure the defeat of Priyank, who is known for his strident attacks on the BJP icons like Veer Savarkar. To take on Priyank in his seat, the saffron party fielded a young wealthy candidate, but he had a criminal record that led to his defeat.

Priyank was the social welfare and information technology minister in the previous Siddaramaiah government. He was then said to have performed well in both his ministries. As the social welfare minister, he introduced innovative schemes like the car financing for Dalits for self-employment. He was also considered a “responsive and tech-savvy” IT minister who gave a lot of leverage to the start-ups.

Priyank’s presence among the eight new ministers raised a few eyebrows in the Congress circles on account of his father being the AICC chief.

🔴 B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan

Prominent Muslim face, Siddaramaiah loyalist

A close associate of CM Siddaramaiah, B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, 56, is considered to be among the most popular and influential Muslim leaders in Karnataka. A five-time MLA, Zameer comes from a family engaged in the transport business.

One of the key factors for Zameer’s popularity has been his willingness to open up his personal wealth for the welfare of all communities. The MLA and his associates had supported many families during the Covid pandemic during 2020-21.

Ahead of the 2013 polls, at the behest of Siddaramaiah, Zameer had joined the Congress along with six other JD(S) MLAs following a fall-out with JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy. Zameer says he still considers JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda his political mentor despite his close association with Siddaramaiah for years since their JD(S) days.

He earned the wrath of KPCC chief Shivakumar for his outspokenness and his remarks directed at the latter

that no one can become the Karnataka CM with the support of a single community. He had made these comments while Shivakumar was seeking support from his Vokkaliga community for his CM bid.

Zameer’s induction into the Siddaramaiah Cabinet was believed to have been strongly opposed by Shivakumar, who recommended instead the name of senior legislator U T Khader. However, Siddaramaiah’s strong backing

sealed the deal for him.

He had earlier made a controversial statement that it was necessary for Muslim women to wear hijab to prevent rape, but he apologised for his remarks after being pulled up by the Congress. He has been investigated extensively by the ED and the Karnataka Anti-Corruption Bureau during the tenure of the previous BJP government.

Zameer has a flamboyant lifestyle and is often seen in the company of Hindi film stars at exotic locations. His son is an aspiring Kannada film star.

🔴 Satish Jarkiholi

Sugar baron, Valmiki

A Karnataka PCC working president, Jarkiholi is among the tallest leaders in the SC/ST community of Karnataka and a Siddaramaiah loyalist. He is a four-time MLA from the Yemkanmardi constituency and followed Siddaramaiah to the Congress from the JD(S) in 2008.

Considered a rationalist, he hails from the Valmiki community — an ST group — and has handled several portfolios in his past stints as minister. A prominent sugar baron from Belagavi district, he was previously minister for excise, small scale industries and textiles.

The 61-year old stirred a controversy in November last year over his speech about the origin of the word “Hindu”. Having won all his elections since 1998 — initially as an MLC and next as an MLA — he tasted his first electoral defeat in a 2021 Lok Sabha bypoll, as he lost to Mangala Angadi, wife of former Union minister Suresh Angadi, by a margin of 5,000-odd votes.

Two of his brothers, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Balachandra Jarkiholi, are BJP MLAs.

🔴 M B Patil

Face of the 2016 Lingayat agitation

Representing the Lingayat community, Patil has represented Bableshwar constituency in Vijayapura district since it was formed in 2008.

A one-time MP, he was the face of the agitation demanding separate recognition for the Lingayat religion in 2016 and 2017, which ultimately came to haunt the Congress in the 2018 election. Patil was made the chairman of the Congress’s campaign committee ahead of the 2023 polls.

He runs the Bijapur Lingayat District Education Association, an umbrella group of several prominent educational institutions in the district and North Karnataka region.

During Siddaramaiah’s previous tenure as the CM, he was the minister for water resources, and was the home minister in the short-lived Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

🔴 K J George

Old war-horse from Bengaluru

The only Christian in the 224-member Legislative Assembly, George is among the close aides of CM Siddaramaiah.

He is a six-time MLA, and won his fourth consecutive election from the Sarvagnanagar constituency in Bengaluru city. He joined the Congress in 1968 and represented the now-defunct Bharathinagar seat twice.

The 76-year old has served as the minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning, and Home in the past.

In 2016, along with two other IPS officers, George was blamed for aiding and abetting the death of deputy SP M K Ganapathi, who had hanged himself, during his tenure as the home minister, following which he resigned from the post. The CBI investigated the suicide case, and George was given a clean chit.

Also Read | Siddaramaiah govt’s first Cabinet meet gives ‘in-principle’ nod for Cong’s guarantees; estimates peg Rs 50,000 crore outgo

🔴 Ramalinga Reddy

A minister from the 1992 cabinet

One of the most prominent politicians of Bengaluru, Reddy is also among the four Karnataka PCC working presidents.

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He represents the BTM Layout constituency and was the home minister and transport minister in the past. First made minister during the Veerappa Moily government in 1992, he was elected for his seventh consecutive term in 2023.

Beginning his journey in politics as a member of the Congress student wing, he climbed up the rungs of the party and has held various posts in the state unit. His daughter Sowmya Reddy, who won the 2018 election from Jayanagar, narrowly lost a disputed poll in the seat this year.

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He was among those unhappy with the Kumaraswamy administration during the JD(S)-Congress coalition government. Though there were rumours that he would jump ship, Reddy stayed with the Congress.

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