Soon after taking the oath, Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka gave orders to implement five guarantees promised by the party in its poll manifesto while also blaming the Centre for the state’s financial loses as a special grant of Rs 5,495 crore of the 15th Finance Commission was not provided to the state.
DK Shivakumar, who was aspiring for the Chief Minister post, took oath as the solo Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka. This came after days of mulling over the chief ministerial face of the party, since the party registered a landslide victory in the state.
Along with chief minister and deputy chief minister, eight more MLAs were sworn in as ministers in the Karnataka cabinet.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge, party’s MLAs G Parameshwara and MB Patil were among the eight MLAs.
The other MLAs who took oath included KH Muniyappa, KJ George, Satish Jarkiholi, Ramalinga Reddy and BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan.
Top brass of the Congress party including the Gandhi family members Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge were present on the occasion.
The Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states including Himachal CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel attended the event. The party had also sent invitations to numerous opposition parties and their leaders.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Deputy Tejashwi Yadav, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah were also present during the swearing-in ceremony.
Other opposition leaders who were present included Sharad Pawar and Kamal Haasan.
This was followed by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government issuing the orders for the implementation of five guarantees which were promised by the party before the elections.
The five ‘main’ guarantees are 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti); Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi); 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya); Rs 3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for unemployed diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (Yuva Nidhi) and free travel for women in public transport buses (Uchita Prayana).
Addressing a press briefing after the first Cabinet meeting in Vidhan Soudha, here, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said, “Five guarantees in the manifesto were promised and the order for the implementation of those five guarantees was given after the first cabinet meeting. All will be in force after the next cabinet meeting which will be called within a week.”
Also, hours after swearing-in as Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government saying that the government ruling before was useless.
“The government which was ruling earlier was useless. They couldn’t get us the share of taxes properly. The Centre has to give us Rs 5,495 crores as per the Finance commission recommendation.”
The Karnataka Legislative Assembly session is to be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, next week.
On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party slammed Congress alleging a “huge difference” between the ruling party’s announcements and poll promises.
“There is a lot of difference in the promises made by the Congress government and the announcements made by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after the first Cabinet. People had expected a lot of announcements and immediate implementation. Some of the women started travelling free in the buses. Today’s announcements have disappointed the people,” former CM Basavraj Bommai told ANI after addressing a press briefing.
Hitting out at the Congress, BJP Tamil Nadu unit president, K Annamalai claimed that the Karnataka government will “collapse” within a year.
“I see Karnataka govt collapsing like a pack of cards a year from now. If DK Shivakumar and Siddharamiah don’t fight by 2024, then the Nobel peace prize should be given to both of them, because the structure of the government is itself faulty. Both leaders will be CM for 2.5 years. Siddaramaih, Shivakumar, and AICC have 10 ministers each. What kind of a structure is this?” Annamalai said.
He added, “They talk about Opposition Unity. What kind of unity will be there when there is no unity in Congress itself? Also, opposition leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, KCR, and Mamata Banerjee were not there today in the swearing-in ceremony”.
Meanwhile, following the swearing-in ceremony, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday thanked the people of Karnataka for electing the Congress to power in the southern State, and said that the newly-formed government will work for development of the state.
In a personalised video address, the former Congress president said, “From my heart, I wish to thank all of you, the people of Karnataka for giving the Congress party such a historic mandate. This mandate is for the pro-people’s government and for the pro-poor government. It is a rejection of politics of divisiveness and a rejection of corruption. I would like to reassure the people of Karnataka that the Congress government which has been sworn in today will stand by its commitment to implement the promises made to them”.
“I am proud that the first Cabinet meeting has already approved the immediate implementation of our five guarantees. The Congress party remains committed to the prosperity, peace and progress of Karnataka. Jai Hind,” she added.
Congress bagged 135 seats in the May 10 elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly ousting the ruling BJP, which got 66 seats while the Janata Dal (Secular) secured 19 seats in the results declared on May 13.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)