Rahul Gandhi meets 'disgruntled' Karnataka MLAs, but talks inconclusive; BSY adds to woes of Congress-JD(S)

As the discontent among Karnataka Congress MLAs grows over not securing berths in the expanded HD Kumaraswamy Cabinet, party president Rahul Gandhi met disgruntled Congress MLAs led by MB Patil in the national capital. However, the talks remained inconclusive.

This amid reports of BS Yeddyurappa claiming that several Congress, JD(S) MLAs are ready to join BJP, could spell fresh troubles for Congress and the HD Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-Congress coalition government in the state.

After the meeting, Patil said the next plan of action will be decided after discussions with the 15-20 MLAs, who are unhappy with the Cabinet expansion. He, however, asserted that he has no plans to quit the Congress.

Rahul Gandhi

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

"The BJP has not approached me nor have I got in touch with the saffron party. My fight is within Congress," he said.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president Dinesh Gundu Rao and new Cabinet minister Krishna Byre Gowda were present in the meeting.

"We are trying to resolve the differences. The process is on at the moment. No decision has been taken yet," Gowda told PTI after the meeting.

Patil, who campaigned for a minority status for the Lingayats, is a prominent state Congress leader. Under his leadership, a section of dissatisfied legislators has held several meetings last week.

After meeting the Congress president, Patil said, "I shared my views with Rahul Gandhi and explained the state's situation. I have not demanded anything."

He said, "I am not alone, many friends are together with me. I will share with them what happened in the meeting and then decide next plan of action."

The JD(S)-Congress Cabinet was expanded on 6 June with the induction of 25 new ministers, after intense bargaining for ministerial berths.

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

Besides MB Patil and Dinesh Gundu Rao, the Congress has dropped several key members of the previous Siddaramaiah ministry, including Ramalinga Reddy, R Roshan Baig, HK Patil, Tanvir Sait, Shamanur Sivashankarappaand and Satish Jarkhiholi, from the coalition government.

However, despite the growing discontent, Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara appeared confident that the coalition government will complete its five-year term.

'Karnataka government will complete five-year term'

Parameshwara said on Saturday that he was confident about the government completing its five-year term. Responding to a question about disgruntlement within the party, he said that legislators would have to understand the situation as it was a coalition government.

"Things are getting right, we have tried to convince them that six ministerial berths are still to be filled in, so there is still opportunity. We have also said that after two years, there will be a change of ministers."

"After two years, Rahul Gandhi may change some people after looking at their performance. Also, the party high command has said that once in every six months, performance evaluation has to be done. So, many of them will get an opportunity," he added.

Meanwhile, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa has made matters difficult for the coalition government in Karnataka by claiming that several Congress and JD(S) leaders are willing to join the BJP

Congress, JD(S) leaders eager to join BJP: Yeddyurappa

Yeddyurappa on Saturday claimed that several disgruntled leaders from the ruling Congress and JD(S) are eager to join his party.

Addressing his partymen, the BJP leader said, "It is our responsibility to induct those who are disgruntled with the JD(S) and Congress and their style of administration in every Assembly segment, and are willing to join the BJP, thereby strengthening the party in every constituency."

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 10, 2018 15:02:12 IST

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