Up to 28 ministers could be sworn in the first round. They are likely to include G Parameshwar, Ramalinga Reddy, Priyank Kharge, KJ George, BK Hari Prasad, HK Patil, MB Patil, Krishna Byre Gowda and UT Khader. The ministry can have up to 34 members, including the CM. Four positions are likely to be kept vacant to accommodate individuals or groups who may be left unhappy.
Several MLAs reached Delhi on Friday to lobby with the party high command. There were unconfirmed reports that Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar would get to propose 10 names each, and the high command would choose the rest. Both leaders met with Kharge in Delhi to finalise the names. AICC insiders in Delhi said that the list would reflect social-age-gender balancing as the leadership was keen to give ministerial representation to all key communities, including Lingayats, Vokkaligas, OBCs, SC/STs and minorities, apart from youth and women.
The party was trying to shortlist the candidates, caste and region wise before deciding on ‘elimination’. The Congress task has been made challenging as the party won 135 seats in the 224-member assembly and most of them are seniors and former ministers.
AICC president Mallikarjuna Kharge, general secretaries KC Venugopal, RS Surjewala and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi are expected to be present during the ceremony. Soon after the event, the top leaders would give guarantees on promises the party has made in its manifesto, Shivakumar said in a video message.
Congress invited 20 leaders from different parties, including chief ministers MK Stalin, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and Hemant Soren and deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav. NCP veteran Sharad Pawar and former CMs Uddhav Thackeray, Akhilesh Yadav, Farooq Abdullah and Mehboob Mufti are among invitees. CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, Kerala Congress Mani group chief Jose K Mani and IUML president Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal too are among the invitees.