K’taka CM comes down heavily on State finances

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Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday met Finance Minister P Chidambaram who was in the city in connection with a meeting of top bankers and industry leaders to discuss implementation of various infrastructure projects in the country.

Later, talking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said it was mere courtesy call and did not disclose the details of his discussion with the finance minister. While briefing the media immediately after holding his first official meeting, the chief minister had said that the financial position of the State was not satisfactory. He further said he would be leaving for Delhi on Wednesday to finalise the formation of his Cabinet in consultation with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G Parameshwar has already reached Delhi ahead of Siddaramaiah to discuss the issue after the party high command summoned him. He has taken with him a list of probable ministers based on the caste, region and seniority.

The formation of cabinet has turned out to be tricky issue as over two dozen senior congress legislators have already left for Delhi to lobby for cabinet berths. The first batch of ministers is likely to be inducted on Friday.

Among the Congress legislators, 23 senior members have had ministerial experience and are said to be natural choice for induction into the cabinet. Many seniors are presently camping in Delhi to lobby with the AICC for cabinet berths.

More than 10 legislators left for Delhi yesterday after the swearing in of Siddaramaiah as chief minister. However, the Congress high command has stated that the tainted members will not be included at any cost.

Another set of legislators went to Delhi on Tuesday including film start-turned politician Amabareesh.

The legislators camping in Delhi are also seeking specific portfolios for themselves.

It is understood that the cabinet will be expanded in two phases and preference will be given to senior members based on their earlier experiences and clean image.

Meanwhile, the chief minister on Tuesday directed nominated chairmen and directors of various state-owned boards and corporations, who were appointed by the previous BJP government, to submit their resignations.

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