BENGALURU: Karnataka`s seven-month-old coalition government was expanded on Saturday with the induction of eight Congress legislators as cabinet ministers.
State Governor Vajubhai R Vala administered the oath of office to the legislators at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the ruling alliance partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara of the Congress and others, including officials, were present on the occasion.
Those who took oath included MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, RB Thimmapur, CS Shivalli, PT Parameshwar Naik, E Tukaram, Rahim Khan and MTB Nagaraj.
Khan from Bidar (North) Assembly segment in the state`s northern district took oath in English in the name of Allah, while the remaining seven lawmakers did in Kannada in the order of their seniority.
Congress` state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters earlier that Satish replaced his elder brother and Municipal Administration Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and Nagaraj came in place of Forests Minister R. Shankar.
"The party`s high command dropped Ramesh and Shankar from the Ministry," Rao added but did not give reasons for their ouster.
Satish was elected from Yemakanmaradi in Belagavi district in the May 12 Assembly elections and Nagaraj from Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district.
Ramesh represents Gokak segment in Belagavi district and Shankar was elected as Independent from Ranebennur in Haveri district but joined the Congress later.
Patil from Babaleshwar in Vijayapura district was the Water Resources Minister in the previous Congress government.
Timmapur is a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) from Mudhol in Bagalkot district, while Shivalli was elected from Kundgol in Dharwad district, and Naik and Tukaram from Hadagalli and Sandur in Ballari district.
Congress Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had earlier in the day sent the names of eight lawmakers to Kumaraswamy for filling up the six vacancies from its cabinet quota of 22 and replacing the two dropped.
The names were approved by party President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Friday at a meeting with state unit leaders, including Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara, Rao and party`s state unit in-charge K.C. Venugopal.
Though the JD-S has two vacancies to fill from its quota of 12 cabinet posts in the 34-member Ministry, Kumaraswamy did not include any of its legislators.
A JD-S source said that party`s supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and PWD Minister H.D. Revanna were against induction of its legislators this time as the cabinet expansion was being held during the "inauspicious" month (Shunya Masa) as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
Kumaraswamy thanked the Governor for agreeing to swear-in the Congress legislators as ministers at a short notice as he received their names only on Saturday morning.
This is the second cabinet expansion of the coalition ministry after the first on June 6 when 24 ministers, including 14 from the Congress and 10 from the JD-S, were inducted.
In the 125-member Legislative Assembly, including one nominated, the Congress has 80 legislators, JD-S 36 and the BJP 104, while the remaining are Independents and from other parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
"Kumaraswamy will soon allocate the portfolios for the new ministers in consultation with Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara," an official said.