New Delhi, June 10: The newly appointed Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy made a controversial statement while defending his choice of state higher education minister.  The row started after senior JD(S) G T Devegowda, who is Class 8 pass, has been given the higher education portfolio. On being asked over the allocation of the Higher Education portfolio, Kumaraswamy said, “What have I studied? I’m working as the chief minister.”  Kumaraswamy himself holds a BSc degree.

On June 6, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s Cabinet ministers took the oath.  GT Devegowda, who defeated former chief minister Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru in the May 12 assembly polls, was said to be eyeing key portfolios, according to party sources.

Reacting to the issue, Kumaraswamy said, “Some people will have the wish to work in certain departments, but in every department, there is an opportunity to work efficiently. We have to work efficiently. Is there a better department than Higher Education and Minor Irrigation to work?”

On reported comments by GT Devegowda about being given Higher Education, when he had just studied till the eighth standard, the chief minister said, “What have I studied? I’m working as the chief minister. Should I give Finance? There will be demand for certain ministries, but certain decisions are made internally in the party,” he told reporters in Bengaluru, adding that such wishes of becoming a minister first and then wanting certain specific portfolios are common.

Earlier, the chief minister had drawn flak for saying he was at the “mercy” of the Congress and not the people. Kumaraswamy later said he never meant to show disrespect to the people of the state. “What I meant was so long as they (Congress) support me I can continue. So, whatever programmes we have to pursue, I will be at the mercy of Congress,” he said.

Kumaraswamy retained the key Finance department, as also Energy with him while giving Home to his deputy G Parameshwara of the Congress.

The chief minister had inducted 25 new ministers on June 6, including those from his party JD(S), Congress, BSP, and the fledgling KPJP.

Karnataka has been witnessing the major political drama. In the recently held assembly elections, BJP failed to form the government still emerging as the biggest party. It failed to prove majority. While JD(S) and Congress came together and formed the government. In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated, the Congress has 78 MLAs, the JDS has 36 and the BJP 104, with three others.