BENGALURU: Sending a clear message to his detractors that he was the undisputed leader of Congress in Karnataka, former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday had four from his camp inducted into the cabinet along with four other new faces.

The Congress, which had six vacancies, did its bit in the long-pending expansion-cum-reshuffle of the seven-month Kumaraswamy cabinet. The JD(S), with two, has decided to wait for Shoonya maasa (inauspicious month) to get over and fill the posts after Sankranthi.

The Congress dropped two ministers (R Shankar and Ramesh L Jarkiholi), inducted eight, appointed 19 chairpersons to boards and corporations, nine parliamentary secretaries and a political secretary, special representative from the state in New Delhi and deputy chairman of state planning board. Siddaramaiah’s stamp was evident by the induction of two Kuruba MLAs – CS Shivalli and MTB Nagaraj – apart from the comeback of his old confidants, MB Patil and Satish L Jarkiholi.

Satish, who saved Siddaramaiah’s blushes by ensuring the former CM’s victory in Badami in the 2018 assembly elections, is a replacement for his brother Ramesh. Patil’s induction was a surprise as he had fallen out of favour with the high command after he failed to convert the Lingayat movement for a separate identity into a vote-bank for the party.The expansion has given the ST or Valmiki community three representations and the Kuruba community two berths. Lingayats, SCs and minorities have got one each.

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