There were protests by supporters of aspirants for ministerial positions in several parts of the state and just outside Raj Bhavan.
BENGALURU: Threats of resignation by legislators and widespread protests by their supporters across the state mirrored the heartburn among Congress leaders who accused veteran leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge and former chief minister Siddaramaiah of bias while backing candidates for berths in the Cabinet on Wednesday, as Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy expanded his 15-day-old Cabinet, inducting 25 new ministers after intense bargaining for ministerial berths, in a much-awaited exercise.
There were protests by supporters of aspirants for ministerial positions in several parts of the state and just outside Raj Bhavan between policemen and supporters of Congress’s H.K. Patil at Chalukya Circle.
There was also a late night conclave by two Congress leaders, Satish Jarkiholi and M.B.Patil who met with their supporters and other seniors, who had been denied Cabinet berths.
A minister in the Siddaramaiah government Congress MLA B.C. Patil said: “I stood with the Congress like a solid rock, refusing the blandishments offered by the BJP. But this is the gift I have received in return... injustice has been done to me.”
M.B. Patil, a key face in the Siddaramaiah government who was at the forefront of the move for religious minority status for Lingayats, was equally sullen.
“I didn’t use pressure tactics or blackmail,” he said, adding he would meet the state party leaders and ask them why he was left out.
Those inducted into the coalition government included 14 legislators from the Congress, nine of Mr Kumaraswamy’s JD(S), and one each of the BSP and Karnataka Pragnavanta Janata Paksha. The BSP is a pre-poll ally of the JDS, while the newly-formed KPJP MLA has extended support to the coalition.
Governor Vajubhai administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers, all of whom are of Cabinet rank, at a ceremony at the glasshouse at Raj Bhavan.