In a move that is likely to generate some political heat, two senior Congress MLAs — D.K. Shivakumar and Roshan Baig — are being inducted into the State Cabinet on Wednesday. The swearing-in ceremony is to be held at 5.15 p.m. at the Raj Bhavan. The two senior leaders were not considered for Cabinet berths earlier, after their names figured in cases related to illegal mining and land-grabbing. When the Congress government was formed, their names were not considered for inclusion in the Cabinet after freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy and Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, a non-governmental organisation, opposed it.
However, pressure was mounting on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to induct Mr. Shivakumar in the Cabinet, after the latter’s brother, D.K. Suresh, wrested the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seat.
With the fresh inclusions, the Cabinet strength would rise to 31. However, there would still be three berths to be filled. This is the second expansion of the Congress Ministry in seven-and-a-half months. Elected to the Assembly six times from Sathnur and Kanakapura constituencies, Mr. Shivakumar started his political career as a member of the Bangalore Rural Zilla Panchayat. Mr. Roshan Baig is also a six-time MLA. He was a Minister for Tourism and Small-Scale Industries in the S.M. Krishna Cabinet. With this, representation from Bangalore has gone up to five, and Ramanagaram has been given representation for the first time in the Cabinet.
Unfortunately, it was a sad day for Mr. Shivakumar as his father, Kempegowda (82), passed away on Tuesday.