First-time minister Ramesh Jigajinagi, who was on Tuesday inducted into the Modi government, wants greater representation at the Centre for his home state Karnataka which he feels has not been adequately represented.
Jigajinagi, a dalit leader and five-time MP from northern Karnataka, has been inducted as Minister of State apparently to reach out to the crucial vote bank ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections due in 2018.
"More representation from the state is required. There are around 16 MPs from the state out of whom only 3-4 have been inducted as ministers," Jigaginagi told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.
He was replying to a query about whether the state's representation in the Union council of ministers was adequate.
At present, three ministers -- Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda and G M Siddeshwara -- are from Karnataka. Nirmala Sitharaman is another minister, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha from the state.
Speaking about his new role at the Centre, Jigajinagi said, "I thank Modiji and the party for giving this responsibility. The portfolio has not been announced yet but I am ready to work in any ministry and carry out the developmental agenda of the NDA government."
Sixty-four-year-old Jigajinagi, known for his clean image, is one of the most popular leaders in northern Karnataka despite having switched alliances and parties.
He had earlier served as minister in the state government handling Home, Excise, Revenue and Social welfare portfolios during 1985-89 and 1994-99.