With three posts in the Karnataka cabinet lying vacant for weeks or months, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inducted three new ministers on Friday.
Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office to Geeta Mahadev Prasad, HM Revanna and Timmapur R Balappa at Raj Bhavan at 5pm on Friday. However, the three new Ministers had not been allotted any portfolios at the time of writing.
The posts of the Home Minister, the Excise Minister and the Cooperation and Sugar Minister have been lying vacant.
The current KPCC President, Dr G Parameshwara, quit his post as the Home Minister after the party High Command decided that he should concentrate on election campaigning for the Assembly polls due in 2018.
HY Meti, who had earlier held the Excise portfolio, resigned after a video showing him in a compromising position surfaced in the media in December 2016.
The post of Cooperation and Sugar Minister has been vacant since January 2017, when HS Mahadev Prasad passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest.
According to a source in the Congress, the current Minister for Environment and Forests in the Karnataka cabinet is being considered for the Home portfolio. As news of this development spread, BJP state President, BS Yeddyurappa called an emergency meeting at the party headquarters in Bengaluru on Friday.
The BJP has announced a massive protest - Mangaluru Chalo - if Ramanath Rai is given the Home portfolio. The BJP has blamed Ramanath Rai for "failure to control the communal tensions" in Dakshina Kannada district.
Here is a look at the newly inducted Ministers:
Timmapur Ramappa Balappa
According to sources, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge and KPCC president Dr G Parameshwara had opposed Timmapur’s induction into the cabinet, but he has been chosen as he is from the Dalit Left community.
“Congress has the backing of the Dalit right community, while the BJP has always had the support of the Dalit Left. By inducting Timmapur RB, Congress is looking at gaining these votes, especially from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, which has a strong BJP presence,” the source added.
Timmapur, however, faces controversy as one of the eight MLCs accused of falsifying their addresses in order to be able to vote for the mayoral election in Bengaluru. In BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad’s report to the Election Commission on irregularities in the mayoral election, Timmapur is also said to have falsified travel allowance bills to claim lakhs of rupees.
A Congress leader from Bagalkot, Timmapur RB is also the owner of two sugar factories in Bagalkot. He represents the Dalit Left in the Congress.
He too has been a two-time MLA and has always contested from the Mudhol constituency in Bagalkot.
Timmapur contested the Assembly elections for the first time in 1989 and won against the then Janata Dal strongman Jamakhandi Bhimappa Gangappa.
After his second victory in 1999, Timmapur was made the Sugar Minster in the SM Krishna cabinet.
He became an MLC in 2013 after the Siddaramaiah government came to power.
Geeta Mahadev Prasad
Geeta Mahadev Prasad is the widow of the former MLA Mahadev Prasad. The late Congress leader was a five-time MLA and was an extremely popular face in Gundlupet.
Geeta holds a doctorate in Political Science, and is a writer, poet. She is also well known for her philanthropic work in Gundlupet.
Although she had never contested an election before this year, and had no prior experience in the political playing field, Geeta was seen as a person with a sound mind, who can be a competent representative of the constituency.
The sympathy factor following the death of her husband – one of the most popular leaders in the region – played a strong role in gaining Geeta her candidature in the bye-polls in April this year.
According to Congress sources, Geeta Mahadev Prasad was chosen to be inducted into the cabinet based on the Suttur pontiff's recommendation. However, it is said that her induction instead of Tiptur MLA L Sadakshari has caused friction between the CM and Parameswara, as Sadakshari is a favourite of the former Home Minister.
Considered Siddaramaiah’s man Friday, HM Revanna is a veteran Congress leader and party loyalist. Like CM Siddaramaiah, he too belongs to the Kuruba community.
Revanna was instrumental in bringing Siddaramaiah into the Congress party, and often functions as one of the CM’s informal spokespersons. On issues that Siddaramaiah cannot speak about, it is HM Revanna and Congress MLC Ugrappa who do the talking, said a Congress insider.
A two-time MLA from the Hebbal Constituency, HM Revanna began his career with the Congress in the 1980s as a member of the party’s Youth Wing. Revanna won the MLA post in 1989 and 1999 from the Hebbal constituency.
After his victory in the 1999 election, Revanna served as the Minister for Silk in the SM Krishna cabinet.
However, in the 2013 elections, Revanna was passed over for an election ticket in favour of Abdul Rahman Sharief. To appease a disappointed Revanna, he was floated as an MLC candidate.
Sources in the Congress say that Revanna is likely to be made the House leader in the Legislative Council as well, a post which has been lying vacant after Parameshwara’s resignation.