Bengaluru, June 11 (IANS): The JD-S-Congress coalition government in Karnataka got down to work finally on Monday, with most of the 25 cabinet ministers attending office for the first time after being sworn in five days earlier, said an official on Monday.
“About a dozen of the 14 Congress ministers and seven of the nine ministers from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) assumed office at the secretariat and met senior officials,” the official in the Chief Minister’s Office told IANS here, preferring anonymity.
The cabinet ministers could not report to work so far as they were allocated portfolios only on Friday night and government offices were closed on second Saturday.
Senior cabinet ministers like R.V. Deshpande and D.K. Shivakumar were among the first to enter the office and hold meetings to take stock of the situation.
“Revenue Minister Deshpande held a meeting on the measures taken to mitigate the hardship faced by the people in the rain-hit districts across the state. He also spoke to Deputy Commissioners of the coastal districts on the situation,” said the official.
Similarly, Shivakumar, who holds twin portfolios of Major and Medium Irrigation and Medical Education, discussed issues pertaining to both the departments, including admissions to medical colleges for the new academic year.
“The secretariat is buzzing with activity after over two months, as the state was on election mode since March 27 when the May 12 Assembly poll was announced and many officials were deputed on election-related work across the state,” said the official.
Some of the first time ministers like N.H. Shivashankara Reddy of Congress (Agriculture) and S.R. Srinivas of JD-S (Small-Scale Industries) offered prayers and invoked gods before starting work in their spruced up cabins.
JD-S ministers G.T. Devegowda and S. Puttaraju, however, did not turn up to join office on the first day, as they are reported to be “sulking” with the portfolios of Higher Education and Minor irrigation allocated to them and are expecting a change.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD-S and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara of Congress assumed office on May 24, a day after they were sworn-in.
Of the 34-member ministry, the Congress has kept six of the 21 cabinet berths of its share vacant to be filled later, while the JD-S has one of 11 berths to fill.
One cabinet berth (Primary & Secondary Education) was allocated to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator N. Mahesh (BSP) and another (Forest, Ecology and Environment) to Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP) legislator R. Shankar.
“The administration or governance of the state came to a virtual standstill, as first the three-day BJP government fell on May 19 and then the coalition government took over two weeks to get its act together in the ministry formation,” added the official.