In what could be considered a low-key affair owing to the reported steady opposition by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and amid oral protests by anti-corruption activists, two senior Congress MLAs — D.K. Shivakumar and R. Roshan Baig — were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers at the Raj Bhavan, here on Wednesday.

With this, the strength of the Siddaramaiah Ministry has gone up to 31. Governor H.R. Bhardwaj administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Shivakumar and Mr. Baig, and both took the oath in Kannada and in the name of god.

Mr. Siddaramaiah, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa and Ministers K.J. George and R. Ramalinga Reddy, senior leaders M.V. Rajasekharan, A.B. Maalakaraddy, MLA, and Veeranna Mathikatti, MLC, were present. Some legislators, who were unhappy with the party leadership for ignoring their claim for the ministership such as Basavaraj Rayaraddi, C.S. Nadagouda, K.B. Koliwad, all Lingayats, and B.T.M. Nagaraj, who belongs to the Kuruba community, were also there. A large number of dignitaries, including Director-General and Inspector-General of Police L.R. Pachau, were present.

Dr. Maalakaraddy and Mr. Mathikatti were also aspirants for ministership.

The function was witnessed by family members and relatives of the two new Ministers and supporters. The former Minister Motamma was present.

Mr. Shivakumar represents Kanakapura in the Assembly and Mr. Baig Shivajinagar (Bangalore) constituency.

Dr. Maalakaraddy told reporters that the Chief Minister had expressed his helplessness in inducting them also in the Ministry, which has three more berths to be filled, and hoped that he might be accommodated after the Lok Sabha elections.

He said that he would explain their plight to the AICC secretaries, who would visit the city on January 6, and hoped that they would respond positively. Supporters, especially those of Mr. Baig, who came in small processions, were seen beating drums and waiting outside to greet the new Ministers, resulting in traffic being diverted.

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