Priyank Kharge sworn in as Minister for second time

Kharge is the lone legislator from KK region; Senior leaders from Kalyana Karnataka miss chance

May 20, 2023 08:18 pm | Updated 08:18 pm IST - KALABURAGI

Priyank Kharge

Priyank Kharge | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Kalyana Karnataka region, the home turf of AICC president M. Mallikarjun Kharge, got a raw deal in the Cabinet of the newly-formed Congress government in the State. Despite the fact that the Congress had won 26 seats out of 41 seats in the Kalyana Karnataka region comprising six districts, Mr. Priyank Kharge is the only legislator from the region to get inducted in Mr. Siddaramaiah’s cabinet.

Of the eight legislators sworn in on Saturday, Mr. Priyank Kharge is the youngest, to be sworn in as Minister for the second time in Mr. Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet.

Mr. Priyank Kharge was IT&BT Minister in the Siddaramaiah-led government between 2016 and 2018. Within his two-and-a-half-year tenure, he transformed the Department of IT, BT and Science and Technology into the Department of Technology and Innovation. The start-up challenges from youth entrepreneurs, collaboration between industries and educational institutions were some of his initiatives.

Senior Congress leaders neglected

Other senior Congress leaders who were aspiring for a berth in the State Cabinet were five-time MLA Sharanabasappa G. Darshanapur (Shahapur Constituency) and four-time MLA Raja Venkatappa Naik from (Shorapur constituency) in Yadgir district.

Four-time legislatures including former Minister Sharanprakash Patil (Sedam constituency) and B.R. Patil (Aland constituency); Eshwar Khandre (Bhalki constituency in Bidar district) and Basavaraj Rayareddy (Yelburga Assembly constituency) from Koppal district were expecting a Ministerial berth.

However, Dr. Sharanprakash Patil and former Minister late Qamarul Islam were inducted in the then Siddaramaiah-led government. Two years later mid-2016, Mr. Siddramaiah dropped a few Ministers from his Cabinet and Congress leaders including Basavaraj Rayareddy, Eshwar Khandre, and Priyank Kharge from the region were inducted.

The Minority strong leader Qamarul Islam, who was Minister for Municipal Administration, was abruptly dropped from the Cabinet to induct Priyank Kharge, following which the supporters of Mr. Islam took out a massive protest and attacked the District Congress Committee office to express their anger.

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