Bangalore: Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Monday took oath as the 22nd Chief Minister of Karnataka. The 64-year-old backward class leader from Mysore was sworn in at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore.
About 50,000 people gathered at the stadium to witness the event. With a comfortable majority of 121 seats in the 225-member assembly, including one nominated member, the Congress returned to power on its own after a gap of nine years. Elections for the state's 14th legislative assembly were held in 223 constituencies across the state May 5 and counting May 8.
Siddaramaiah began his innings as Chief Minister on the front foot by announcing measures he had promised in the campaign, such as 30 kgs of rice every month at Rs 1 per kg for BPL families, Rs 4 subsidy per litre of milk for dairy farmers, and grant of Rs 1.2 lakhs from the earlier Rs 75,000 for poor people to build houses.
64-year-old Siddaramaiah was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor HR Bhardwaj in front of thousands of his supporters at the Kanteerava Stadium. Sporting white colour silk dhoti and shirt, Siddaramaiah was sworn alone and he took the oath in the name of 'Truth'.
Siddaramaiah is expected to constitute the full-fledged ministry after consultations with the central leadership some time this week, a difficult task on hand considering the number of ministerial aspirants. Union Ministers Mallikarjun Kharge, whom Siddaramaiah had piped in the race for chief ministership and M Veerappa Moily besides Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan, Congress General Secretaries Madhusudan Mistry, in charge of State party affairs, Oscar Fernandes and B K Hariprasad were present.
The swearing in ceremony is usually held on the portals of Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, or at the Raj Bhavan. Vidhana Soudha was avoided as Bangalore Metro works are on in front of the building.
Siddaramaiah was chosen the Congress Legislature Party leader on Saturday after AICC observers headed by Defence Minister AK Antony asked party legislators to express their choice in writting. Coming from the "Janata Pariwar" stable, Siddaramaiah had led the Congress battle against the BJP along with KPCC Chief G Parameshwara, paving the way for the return of Congress to power inflicting a humiliating defeat on the ruling party and winning 121 seats in the 224-member Assembly in the May 8 polls.
After the swearing in, Siddaramaiah will fly to New Delhi to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)