Bengaluru: After several rounds of discussions and heated exchanges between senior leaders, the Congress allocated portfolios to its newly sworn-in ministers in order to contain any further damage to the party.

The most notable allocation was the handing over of the home portfolio to M.B.Patil, a senior leader who was earlier snubbed for his role in the demand for separate minority religion status for Lingayats.

The home ministry was taken away from G.Parameshwara, the deputy CM whose initial refusal to part with the ministry resulted in a face-off with former CM Siddaramaiah, deepening the divide within the senior leadership of the Congress in Karnataka.

The completion of cabinet allocations puts to rest at least some of the dissent that had threatened to destabilise the already fragile coalition government headed by chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy.

Senior leader Ramesh Jarkiholi has threatened to quit the Congress after he was dropped from the cabinet.

Satish Jarkiholi landed the forest, ecology and environment ministry that fell vacant after the incumbent minister, Shankar, was removed from the cabinet.

M.T.B.Nagaraj, the richest legislator in the country, landed the housing portfolio while C.S.Shivalli got the municipalities ministry. Raheem Khan got youth empowerment and sports, R.B.Timmapur landed port, inland transport and sugar, P.T. Parameshwara Naik landed Muzrai and skill development and E.Tukaram was made medical education minister.

Though most of the allocations are complete, not all within the Congress are happy as some of the seniors have been left out while others allege that only those close to Siddaramaiah were favoured for ministerial berths.

The developments also give room for increased factionalism by powerful leaders, each trying to score over the other. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been waiting for the coalition to slip, which will give the saffron party a foothold in the south, where it has little or no presence at all.

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