(PTI)
(PTI)

Reinstating Ramesh Jarkiholi likely to fuel dissent within Congress

  • Jarkiholi and two others—B.C.Patil and R.Shankar—are in the shortlist to fill up the three vacant seats in the cabinet
  • Jarkiholi, the sugar baron and legislator from Gokak, has been on the edge ever since he was dropped from the cabinet in December last year

Bengaluru: Ramesh Jarkiholi, the disgruntled Congress leader who has been one of the biggest headaches for the H.D.Kumaraswamy-led coalition government, is likely to be reinstated to the cabinet, according to two people aware of the developments.

But the proposal is likely to be counterintuitive to its objective of quelling dissent as other ministerial aspirants, who have expressed their displeasure of being left out of the cabinet, may take the same route that could add to the troubles of the coalition.

Jarkiholi and two others--B.C.Patil and R.Shankar--are in the shortlist to fill up the three vacant seats in the cabinet.

“This (reinstatement) will calm things down for us," one of the two people cited above said, requesting not to be named.

Any formal decision on his reinstatement is likely to give rise to more disgruntlement within the crisis-hit party and its ministerial aspirants who may see rebellion as the only way to be rewarded.

Jarkiholi, the sugar baron and legislator from Gokak, has been on the edge ever since he was dropped from the cabinet in December last year. The legislator and at least three others close to him has since been speculated to move to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Jarkiholi has since announced to resign from the Congress though some of the others have returned back to the fold. The party feared that his exit might open the floodgates to several others who are unhappy with the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition that has restricted the number of ministerial aspirants. After having ruled for five years under Siddaramaiah from 2013 to 2018, the Congress lost power as it was able to win just 78 (now 79) out of the 224 seats forcing the national party to hurriedly stitch up an alliance with former Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda-led JD(S) that had won a total of 37 seats.

To avoid losing power and another state to the BJP before the 2019 elections, the Congress drafted an agreement in which it retained only 24 out of the 34 ministerial berths and gave up 12 ministerial berths to the JD(S), including the chief minister’s chair. The limited number of berths meant the Congress would have to face the ire of senior leaders, who served as ministers in the previous regime, to be dropped.

Ramalinga Reddy, R.Roshan Baig, M.Krishnappa, H.K.Patil, M.B.Patil and Satish Jarkiholi were some of the seniors who were not accomodated when the cabinet was formed in May last year.

Those who lost out on cabinet berths were seen making statements against the party leadership and openly opposing the coalition with the JD(S).

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