Bengaluru: In the recent cabinet reshuffle, former chief minister Siddaramaiah has not only inducted his loyalist into the list, but has also offered him a plum post. with home department for MB Patil, housing for MTB Nagaraj,  forest, ecology and environment for Satish Jarkiholi and municipal administration for CS Shivalli, another Kuraba, etc, it is very evident that Siddaramaiah is calling the shots.

Housing portfolio was earlier held by minister UT Khader. MTB Nagaraj, being a Kuruba and close confidante of Siddaramaiah, usurped it from Khader. Similarly, CS Shivalli, Kundgol MLA was offered municipal administration, which was earlier held by former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi. To keep the caste card moving, legislators of the ST community from Ballari district, PT Parameshwar Naik from Hadagalli and E Tukaram from Sandur were inducted as ministers. 

According to sources, Siddaramaiah and Satish Jarkiholi, who helped Siddaramaiah win Badami seat in Karnataka during the Assembly election in May, lobbied for MLA Anand Singh from Vijayanagar and BN Nagendra from Kudalgi, but minister DK Shivakumar wanted PT Parameshwar Naik and Tukaram (both from ST background).  Known to have learnt the caste-consideration tactics from HD Deve Gowda earlier, Siddaramaiah did not have any objections to these names pushed by DK Shivakumar. "Siddaramaiah and Satish Jarkiholi agreed based on the condition that these leaders should be inducted during the cabinet reshuffle after May 2019," said a source.

The biggest lobby was for MB Patil, who has been made home minister. Keeping Lingayat votes in mind and the possibility of Lok Sabha victory in Bijapur, Siddaramaiah ensured MP Patil is inducted with a plum post. Deputy chief minister G Parameshwar, who held home minister as well as Bengaluru district administration was forced to sacrifice the former. 

Opposition Leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge's loyalist and Bidar MLA Rahim Khan and Mudhol MLA RB  Thimmapur were also inducted into the cabinet.

Highlighting how chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and minister DK Shivakumar had to succumb to Siddaramaiah, BJP leader and spokesperson Vaman Acharya said, "Siddaramaiah will not allow HD Kumaraswamy to function independently. Ultimate power is with Siddaramaiah, who will disturb HDK. After the elections in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Congress and Siddaramaiah have become adamant. Now, JDS is shaky and jittery. Apart from proving to HD Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah has also hinted to DK Shivakumar that Siddaramaiah is more powerful." 

Lashing out against the BJP for trying to "blow the issue out of proportion", JD(S) leader said that the Congress cannot involve in their party affairs. MZ Ali, joint secretary of JD(S) said that Siddaramaiah and others can include or drop legislators from the quota allocated to them, according to the coalition set up.  "JDS has its own set of departments and so far, we have not allowed them to interfere with our party affairs," said Ali.

Echoing similar sentiments, Congress spokesperson Kengal Renu said that BJP always finds faults with  whatever developments happen in the coalition. "The decision lies with the high command and not with Siddaramaiah or any other leader. The portfolios were allocated from the Congress quota. Congress is not posing any threat to Kumaraswamy or the coalition.  Instead of worrying about Karnataka, the BJP should do some soul searching about the statement made by Nitin Gadkari against Amit Shah after the defeat in the three north Indian states," said Renu.