Left out of Karnataka cabinet expansion, prominent Congress MLAs hold meetings while supporters stage protests

Bengaluru: Upset over not securing berths in the expanded HD Kumaraswamy ministry, several Congress MLAs in Karnataka today held separate meetings in the city.
The meetings were held a day after the 15-day old two-member JD(S)-Congress cabinet was expanded with the induction of 25 new ministers after intense bargaining for ministerial berths.

File photo of HD Kumaraswamy. Twitter@JDSforchange

File photo of HD Kumaraswamy. Twitter@JDSforchange

The much-awaited exercise has caused heartburn among several lawmakers in the coalition while supporters of some of the ministerial aspirants staged protests.

The Congress had dropped several key members of the previous Siddaramaiah ministry — including MB Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Ramalinga Reddy, R Roshan Baig, HK Patil, Tanvir Sait, Shamanur Sivashankarappa, and Satish Jarkhiholi.

A meeting held at MB Patil's residence on Thursday was attended by disgruntled MLAs including MTB Nagaraj, Satish Jarkiholi, Sudhakar and Roshan Baig. Emerging out of the meeting Jarkiholi, who is also an All India Congress Comittee (AICC) secretary, said they discussed the cabinet expansion and it was true that they were "unhappy" over not getting ministership.

"We have discussed how to set it right by bringing it to the notice of state and Delhi party leadership about capable and efficient aspirants. We have discussed this yesterday also. Today we discussed too, and we will meet again," he said, on Thursday.

However, trying to downplay the significance of the development, MB Patil blamed the media for creating "a hype" about his meeting with party colleagues and asked, "What is wrong with it?"

Admitting that he was a ministerial aspirant, the former minister said nothing was more important than self respect for him, but "that doesn't mean being anti-party." He claimed the discussion was about the welfare of the party. Asked if he would agree for the minister's post during the second phase of cabinet expansion, Patil said "...I'm not second class citizen. I don't have any aspirations further. Even as deputy chief minister for North Karnataka then (before the first cabinet expansion), I had asked for it."

Patil, a prominent ministerial face of the Siddaramaiah government, was at the forefront demanding religious minority tag for Lingayats, the largest community in the state. Interestingly, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, the face of Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha (ABVM) that had opposed the religious minority tag only for Lingayats, by advocating that Lingayats and Veerashaiava are the same, has also not been inducted as the minister. According to sources, Shivashankarappa also held discussion with leaders and close confidantes.

A similar meeting of MLAs took place under former minister HK Patil's leadership and was attended by Yashvantharayagouda Patil and SR Patil, among others, sources said. Stating that several MLAs had spoken to him personally and also over the phone, HK Patil said, "We are thinking about how to avoid such faults from happening in the future and steps need to be taken in this regard. We will take our next steps."

The party high-command should consider everything, including performance and should take appropriate steps, he said and cleared the air about any plans of him quitting the party.

Protests have also been reported from various places including Belagavi, Haveri, and Chellakere, where supporters of Jarkiholi, BC Patil and T Raghumurthy respectively, demanded minister's posts for their leaders.

MLAs at the meetings are said to have expressed dismay about party leadership, especially for not getting ministerial berths for CLP leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who is also the Pradesh Congress chief.

Kumaraswamy had yesterday expanded his 15-day old cabinet, by inducting 25 ministers, with 14 members from the Congress and nine from his party, JD(S), and one each from BSP
and the nascent Karnataka Pragnavanta Janata Paksha.

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Updated Date: Jun 08, 2018 13:56:55 IST

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