By Sagay Raj: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reallocated Information Technology and Biotechnology, a key portfolio, to Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge on Wednesday.
Priyank Kharge, who is the current Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister, had handled the IT/BT department in the previous Siddaramaiah government. The IT/BT portfolio is key to Karnataka’s economy as Bengaluru is the IT capital of the country.
Meanwhile, MB Patil, a close associate of Siddaramaiah, has been entrusted with Infrastructure Development and the Large and Medium Industries portfolios.
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Both IT/BT and Infrastructure portfolios were with Siddaramaiah since the 34 ministers were allocated portfolios four days ago.
Siddaramaiah, who took the oath of office with his deputy DK Shivakumar and eight ministers on May 20, now holds Finance, Cabinet Affairs, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Intelligence, Information and all unallocated portfolios. The veteran Congress leader expanded the Cabinet to its full strength by inducting 24 new ministers after rounds of discussions with the central leadership.
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DK Shivakumar was allocated the Bengaluru City Development department despite five MLAs from the city being ministers in the Cabinet. The portfolio is important keeping in mind the upcoming BBMP polls.
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In the May 10 elections to the 224-member Assembly, the Congress stormed to power in Karnataka, bagging 135 seats while the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19, respectively.