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Dissidence in Karnataka Congress following cabinet expansion

Ramesh Jarkiholli, who was dropped from the cabinet to accommodate his brother Satish Jarkiholli, has threatened to quit the party

Statesman News Service | Bengaluru |

Twenty four hours post expansion of the H D Kumaraswamy government’s cabinet, dissensions have surfaced in the Karnataka Congress with two of its senior leaders, Ramesh Jarkiholli and Ramalainga Reddy, lashing out against the party leadership.

The Congress inducted eight new faces in the Congress-JDS coalition government on Saturday, six of whom were aimed at filling the vacant berths. The balance were inducted to replace two ministers who were dropped.

First, Ramesh Jarkiholli, who was dropped from the cabinet to accommodate his brother, Satish Jarkiholli, has threatened to quit the party, adding that “ I might quit the party in the next few days. In fact, I have decided to resign as an MLA.”

This statement came just as the party leadership sought to assure its members that the five time MLA would not resign even as the dropped minister rushed from Belgavi to Bengaluru to meet other disgruntled leaders.

Ramalinga Reddy, the seven time MLA and home minister in the outgoing Siddaramiah government, on his part, could not contain himself as he accused the party of ignoring loyalists while rewarding those who threatened to rebel. His sharp reaction has taken the party by surprise as till now he had preferred to lie low refraining from making any public comment. His supporters though did stage a protest against his exclusion from the cabinet.

He said while other leaders like HK Patil, M B Patil, Sudhakar and Satish Jarkiholli had held meetings to express their disappointment in public after the first cabinet expansion, he had preferred to be quiet. A few of them were included in the cabinet this time. He claimed that merely because he did not lobby, his case was ignored for the cabinet berth.

This is not all. Senior leaders like former chief minister, Siddaramiah, deputy chief minister, G Parameshwara, state unit chief, Gundu Rao, and K C Venugopal, he said, were calling the shots. He lashed out at them for seeking to justify his exclusion on the ground that youngsters were being accommodated this time for which seniors had to make way.

In that case, an angry Ramalinga Reddy wondered, why the axe should fall on him alone and not other senior leaders like G Parameshawara, K J George, R V Deshpande and D K Shivakumar. Despite being seniors, they were made ministers in the first cabinet expansion itself.

Similarly, he took umbrage at the remarks of Gundu Rao for saying that “not everyone can be made a minister” while responding to queries earlier. How then was M B Patil made a minister this time, the disgruntled leader wondered.

Expressing unhappiness with what he termed as the caste based politics that the party was playing, he expressed his anguish at the failure of the leadership to even reach out to him. Other leaders who feel left out including B C Patil and Roshan Beg,too have not sought to hide their disappointment.