In a major Cabinet reshuffle, Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah dropped a whopping 14 ministers and inducted 13 new faces into the state government.
The biggest Cabinet rejig so far by the Congress government is being seen as an image makeover exercise before the state goes into poll, due in less than two years.
Karanataka Governor Vaju Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly-inducted ministers - nine as Cabinet and four Ministers of State with independent charge.
Hours before the swearing-in ceremony, the Chief Minister sacked 14 of his ministers. Sources in the congress say that dissident MLAs may go on to support the BJP. Several MLAs such as Soamshekhar, Muniratna, R V Devaraj, Byrathi Basavaraj among others who have been denied a cabinet berth have threatened to quit the party.
The mega Cabinet reshuffle has been effected after days of deliberations and inputs from the party high command in New Delhi.
Fresh faces in the Cabinet
Congress' Lok Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge's son, Priyank Kharge, has got a berth in Siddaramaiah's Cabinet. By inducting Priyank Kharge, Siddaramaiah is looking at bringing the Dalit representation issue to rest. "The idea is to bring in fresh faces and we will do what the chief minister wants us to do, said the newly elected minister of state, Priyank Kharge to India Today.
The film industry is miffed with the removal of Ambarish from the Cabinet. He was dropped as housing minister for non-performance. A group of actors, film directors and producers have urged the CM to let Mr Ambareesh continue as minister.
Revenue minister Srinivas Prasad hits back
The biggest challenge for Siddaramaiah comes from his close aide Srinivas Prasad who removed as revenue minister. Prasad called him a traitor. Large scale protests have been seen in Mysore, Mandya, Nanjangud against the dropping of Srinivas Prasad.
The newly inducted ministers are: Tanveer Sait, Kagodu Thimmappa, Ramesh Kumar, Basavaraj Raya Reddy, H.Y. Meti, S.S. Mallikarjun, M.R. Seetharam, Santosh Lad and Ramesh Jarkiholi while the ministers of state are Priyank Kharge, Rudrappa Lamani, Eshwar Khandre and Pramod Madhwa.