Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah meets senior ministers to control discontent after Cabinet reshuffle

As sulking MLAs and dropped ministers stepped up their criticism of the major ministry revamp and openly discussed about leadership change, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday went into damage control mode to quell the growing resentment.

PTI June 24, 2016 18:33:05 IST
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah meets senior ministers to control discontent after Cabinet reshuffle

Bengaluru: As sulking MLAs and dropped ministers stepped up their criticism of the major ministry revamp and openly discussed about leadership change, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday went into damage control mode to quell the growing resentment.

Siddaramaiah met senior ministers to chalk out a strategy to control growing discontent after the 19 June major rejig that saw 14 ministers being shown the door and 13 others being inducted.

Congress sources said the chief minister made phone calls to disgruntled MLAs in an attempt to pacify them.

"There is no discontent among us, I'm talking to every one... such things are common whenever there is cabinet reshuffle. I'm talking to all those who have expressed displeasure," Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

He added: "I'm personally talking to all those people who have displeasure. All those reports about displeasure at the MLAs level are false. There are no groups or difference of opinion among us."

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah meets senior ministers to control discontent after Cabinet reshuffle

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah. PTI

Siddaramaiah's move comes in the wake of a few "like-minded" party legislators deciding to meet either on Sunday or Monday to plan their next course of action, keeping the option open of pressing for leadership change.

A series of meetings are being held for the past couple of days by several dropped ministers and ministerial berth aspirants after Siddaramaiah carried out the revamp to improve the party's image with two years left for Assembly polls.

Siddaramaiah said he had not spoken to any ministers individually before the reshuffle "but during the Council of Ministers meeting on 15 June, I had informed (them) that I'm reshuffling and a few ministers will be dropped as we have to take new people in".

"I had clearly told that the dropping of ministers is to make way for new people and not because of any other reasons," he added.

Senior leaders like Srinivas Prasad, Qamarul Islam, Ambareesh and Baburao Chinchansoor have openly criticised Siddaramaiah for dropping them without prior information.

Ambareesh has even resigned as MLA, which, however, has not been accepted.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of senior ministers today, which the chief minister said was to discuss the Deputy Commissioners' meeting on 27 and 28 June, Energy Minister DK Shivakumar expressed hope that those leaders who were now unhappy will continue to work and guide the party without doing any "damage" to it.

Stating that every thing will get resolved and party with unity will fight 2018 assembly polls, he said "a few seniors are speaking against the party, it is causing pain, but those in power will have to get over it... we are like family, everything will be fine."

Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge (Congress Leader in Lok Sabha), whose son Priyank Kharge has managed to find a ministerial slot are under direct attack from senior MLAs who were ministerial aspirants.

Hitting out at Kharge, six-time MLA Malka Reddy today said "...what has he done, making his sons minister, MLA... he wants his family to grow in politics and we should remain like slaves."

"This is nothing but feudal system, he has become feudal lord... worst form of feudal system is persisting in Hyderabad-Karnataka region. He only wants followers not leaders," he added.

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