Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader and Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar on Saturday said all ministers in the party, including him, were ready to step aside from the cabinet in the interest of the party to accommodate those MLAs who are dissatisfied.
"We are loyal soldiers of the party. When the Dharm Singh government was there, I was kept out of the government for political reasons... In the last regime, I was an MLA for the sixth term. Siddaramaiah could not include me in his cabinet (initially)," Shivakumar said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said this time. it was a coalition government, and several legislators, who were senior to him — V Muniyappa, Ramalinga Reddy, Roshan Baig, HK Patil — are not part of the government.
"If need be, including myself, I'm telling you, we are ready to sacrifice for the party, for the workers, for legislators. Nothing is important. The party is important to us. We want to bring back our party with flying colours," he said in response to a question. Shivakumar also said the "decision" was arrived at a meeting of Congress ministers held a few days ago.
He said "I voluntarily have offered (to step down)... In the interest of the party, if my leaders want, I'm ready." To a question on how many ministers were ready to resign, he said "All of us are ready..."
The statement by the Congress' "trouble shooter" gains significance as there is simmering discontent within a section in the party over not getting a cabinet berth during the recent rejig.
To a question about getting in touch with MLAs, including Nagendra and Umesh Jadhav who were absent from the Congress legislature party meeting on Friday, Shivakumar said, "I'm in touch with all MLAs... I don't want to disclose."
He said there were no "rebels" in the party and downplayed dissatisfaction within the party. "Who is a rebel? I don't know, I have not seen any rebels," he said.
To a question how long Congress legislators will stay in the resort, Shivakumar said, "Let me see... Discussions are on district by district, constituency-wise discussions are on (regarding the parliamentary election), also about the development work in each constituency."
Asked whether MLAs would return from the resort on Sunday, without giving any direct response, he said "Can they stay there itself?"
The Congress, on Friday, had shifted all its MLAs to a resort to allegedly "escape" from the BJP's "onslaught".
On the BJP going for a statewide tour to study drought, Shivakumar, terming it a "good" move, assured full cooperation from the government. He also asked BJP legislators still in Delhi to pressure the prime minister and rural development minister "to get back our MNREGA money" of about Rs 1,500 crore that is pending with the Centre.
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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2019 20:22:10 IST