Bangalore, Jan 1, 2014, DHNS : Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday defended his new Cabinet colleagues D K Shivakumar and Roshan Baig on allegations of corruption against them, saying that the charges are not serious enough to debate.
Speaking to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony, he said: “There is only one case against Shivakumar and the court has stayed it. It is only a private complaint against Roshan Baig. None of these charges are serious.”
The chief minister was reported to have strongly resisted pressure to induct these leaders into his Cabinet in view of the charges against them. While Shivakumar is facing many allegations of corruption, including illegal mining and land denotification, Baig has been accused of fraud and misuse of a government-allotted land.
However, Siddaramaiah is learnt to have yielded, following the party high command’s diktat to take the leaders into the ministry.
The move to induct these leaders as Cabinet ministers has met with opposition from within the party, with many senior MLAs questioning it. Senior legislator K B Koliwad, who is one of the ministerial aspirants, had expressed fear that the decision would damage the party’s prospects in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
To a question whether the expansion will affect the party in the parliamentary elections, he only said that both are experienced leaders and they will actively work for the party.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara too has defended them, saying that there is no clear definition for the word “tainted.” Governor H R Bhardwaj said he was happy that the senior leaders have been made ministers.
“I know both of them (Shivakumar and Baig). They have a long record of public service. Moreover, the captain (the chief minister) is good. I will continue to advise them as long as they receive it,” he added.
Both Shivakumar and Baig refused to comment on allegations being faced by them.
“Let us talk about it (charges) some other day,” Shivakumar stated.
Soon after taking oath, Shivakumar visited the KPCC head office on Queen’s Road and addressed the media.
Normally, new ministers visit the Vidhana Soudha after taking oath. “The party office is like a temple for me. I have never done anything against the party despite attempts by a section of leaders to finish off my career,” Shivakumar said.