Bengaluru: Growing dissent by Congress MLAs denied a ministerial berth is fuelling a rebellion that could destabilise the party’s fragile new ruling coalition with the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), in Karnataka.
After weeks of speculation, the government on Friday announced the portfolios for the 25 ministers inducted into the cabinet. Chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy bagged a large part of the 12 allocated portfolios to the JD(S), including finance, intelligence, energy and infrastructure development.
Within the Congress’s allocated 22 portfolios, deputy chief minister G.Parameshwara got the home department (excluding intelligence), Bengaluru development, youth empowerment and sports.
Supporters of prominent Congress leaders like M.B. Patil, H.K. Patil and Satish Jarkiholi, who were denied a place in the cabinet, took to the streets demanding a ministerial berth.
Supporters of Shanthi Nagar legislator N.A. Haris carried out protests outside the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office in Bengaluru. The police were brought in to control the crowd.
Sensing growing dissent, chief minister Kumaraswamy paid M.B. Patil a visit on Friday, hoping to pacify the strongman from Vijayapura. But after the chief minister’s visit, Patil said that Kumaraswamy had nothing to do with the internal decisions of the Congress.
“I am not alone, there are 15-20 people with me, like Satish and Ramesh Jarkiholi. We are discussing how to strengthen the party. None of us have thought of quitting the party," Patil said.
The decision of the Congress to induct new faces along with a few old ones in its allotted 22 portfolios has left many senior leaders fuming.
Satish Jarkiholi, the sugar baron from Yemkanamaradi constituency and one of the catalysts behind former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s win in Badami, said that he would resign from the post of All India Congress Committee secretary “shortly". Ramesh Jarkiholi, Satish’s brother, has been included in the cabinet.
Though the Congress still has six vacant portfolios, it has been kept busy trying to quell the growing number of disgruntled legislators.