First-timers, youngsters are in new Karnataka cabinet

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NEW DELHI: First-time ministers and youngsters are likely to dominate the Siddaramaiah government, with Congress looking to heighten the contrast with the ousted BJP government.

Congress may keep DK Shiva Kumar out of the new Cabinet for his alleged role in a land allotment case as well as his family interests in mining and real estate. A Vokkaliga leader and former working president of PCC, Kumar was urban development minister in the S M Krishna government. Sources said mining baron Anil Lad too may not find a place in the ministry.

The sensitivities about mining families are part of Congress leadership’s bid to strike a clean break from the saffron regime that went down to graft in this key sector under B S Yeddyurappa’s watch.

AICC sources said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has listed a series of do’s and don’ts for Siddaramaiah, advising him to beware of corruption and favouritism in the government.

Though Siddaramaiah was the only choice for the top job after PCC chief G Parameshwara lost, Congress remains wary of the new CM’s style given his “Lohiaite” background. The leadership is learnt to have urged him to carry all factions along and avoid too much reliance on bureaucracy.

Senior AICC sources said a 30-member ministry may be sworn in on Saturday, keeping three vacancies. Siddaramaiah will reflect the leadership’s confidence by staying without the hobbling presence of deputy CMs.

“It is a one-party government, not a coalition regime,” explained a leader about keeping out any deputy CMs.

Five ministers each from Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities could be the formula to balance the dominant groups that were surprisingly sidelined by the OBC-dalit-minority mobilization of Congress in these polls.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi’s stamp may be visible in ministry-making, with many debutant likely to get in. The debutants, however, are likely to be multiple-term MLAs. Youth leader Krishna Byre Gowda is seen as a shoo-in.

Some seniors, who have been ministers in the past like Malak Reddy and K B Koliwad, are unlikely to make the grade. H K Patil will be sworn in with Cabinet rank as is the likelihood of M B Patil, a five-term MLA.

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