Senior MLC and Congress leader from Bagalkot district S.R.Patil was sworn in as a Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet by Governor H.R.Bharadwaj at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday.
Mr Patil (65), a Lingayat MLC for the third term, is a law graduate, whose present term will end in 2016. He is the only member from the Upper House to get a ministerial berth as of now. He had served as Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council during the former Bharatiya Janata Party Government.
With Mr Patil’s induction, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has complied with the rule of the Legislative Council that only a member of that House can be nominated as the leader of the ruling party in the Council. Although senior MLCs Veeranna Mathikatti and C.Motamma were also trying hard to get into the Ministry, Mr.Patil was the final choice.
Apart from the Chief Minister, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G.Parameshwara and senior congress leaders such as Veeranna Mathikatti, M.V.Rajashekaran, Union Minister Rehman Khan and a host of the newly inducted ministers were present at the ceremony. BJP MLCs Sadananda Gowda, who is also the former chief minister, and Lehar Singh were also present.
Following the induction of Mr.Patil, Mr.Siddaramaiah now has a 30-member cabinet, including himself. In the first round of the ministry formation, the chief minister had inducted 28 ministers, 20 of the Cabinet rank and eight of ministers of state rank, with independent charge. Under the provisions of the constitution, Mr. Siddaramaiah, including himself can have 34 members in his cabinet and following Mr. Patil’s induction there are four more vacancies.
Speaking to media persons after being sworn in, Mr. Patil said his priority was to expedite work on irrigation projects in the Krishna basin. “The Krishna river is the lifeline of Uttar Kannada and covers 105 taluks. Although Karnataka has an allocation of 130 tmc of Krishna water, we have not utilised even a single tmc so far,” he said.
Asserting that he was ready to accept any portfolio allotted to him by the chief minister, Mr. Patil said he would work towards fulfilling his party’s promises made in the manifesto.
Thanking the party high command and chief minister for including him in the ministry, Mr. Patil appealed to the high command to ensure more representation to MLCs in the cabinet.