Four new faces from Karnataka joined the union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, taking the state’s representation in the Union Council of Ministers to six. This is the highest representation for the state – which sent 25 BJP MPs to Parliament out of its total of 28 seats – since the Modi government came to power in 2014.
One noteworthy addition was of Shobha Karandlaje who was elected to the Lok Sabha from coastal Karnataka’s Udupi-Chikmagaluru seat. Ms Karandlaje, who represents the powerful Vokkaliga community, has been made Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Once a close aide of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Ms Karandlaje held several portfolios in the state government, including food and civil supplies, energy and rural development. She later stepped down following a truce between Mr Yediyurappa and the then powerful – and rebellious – mining baron minister Janardhan Reddy. More recently, the outspoken and sometimes controversial MP has been carving out more of a separate identity.
Rajeev Chandrashekar, who represents the state in the Rajya Sabha, has been made Minister of State in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The wealthy entrepreneur – a former independent MP who joined the BJP in 2018 – is serving his third term in the Upper House.
A two-time Lok Sabha member, Bhagwanth Khuba hails from the politically dominant Lingayat community which the BJP considers as its key vote base in north Karnataka. His induction into the cabinet is being seen as a move to fill up Lingayat representation in the cabinet that had fallen vacant following the death of Suresh Angadi, due to COVID-19 in September last year.
A Narayanaswamy, a first-time MP from Chitradurga, also found a berth in the union cabinet, taking the state’s tally to four – the highest representation since 2014. Mr Narayanaswamy, who belongs to the Madiga sect of Dalit community, will serve as Ministers of State in the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.
The new ministers join two existing representatives – Prahlad Pralhad Joshi (Coal and Mines) and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman – a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka – to take the state’s representation to six in the union cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from Mr Joshi and Ms Sitharaman, two other leaders from the state – Sadananda Gowda and Suresh Angadi – were part of the cabinet. While Mr Gowda resigned as Fertilizers Minister ahead of the cabinet expansion, Mr Angadi died last year from Covid.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa congratulated the new Ministers and called on them to work together, to further the state’s progress across all sectors.
“Congratulations and best wishes to @rajeev_mp, @ShobhaBJP, @ANarayana_swamy and @bhagwantkhuba on being inducted into the Union Council of Ministers from Karnataka. Let us work to further state progress across all sectors under the leadership of PM @narendramodi Ji,” he tweeted.
News Source: NDTV News