After the discontent over cabinet berths, a row has broken out in the Karnataka Congress over the reluctance of senior ministers to shed excess portfolios to accommodate the newly appointed ministers. Two seniormost ministers in G Parameshwara and D K Shivkumar have clearly shown their displeasure over suggestions that they give up a few of their important portfolios.
A meeting to sort out the portfolios for new ministers under the aegis of former chief minister, Siddaramiah and AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, K C Venugopal, failed to arrive at a consensus over the allocation of berths to the new inductees.
Predictably, as is the party’s wont, the matter has now been left for AICC national president, Rahul Gandhi, to decide.
Siddaramiah is keen that his confidant and senior leader, M B Patil, who was one of the eight ministers to be included in the cabinet last Saturday,should get the home ministry, a post currently held by Parameshwara. Incidentally, the latter is also incharge of Bengaluru’s development and the department of sports and youth affairs.
Tempers frayed at the meeting when the moment Siddaramiah suggested that Parameshwara ,who is also the deputy chief minister, should give up the home portfolio. Clearly, in no mood to give up any post the deputy CM vented his ire against Siddaramiah asserting that twice the party had come to power under his leadership as the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee and that he had toiled hard to bring the party to its present position.
According to a section of the party’s senior leaders, Pararmeshawara vented his ire against Siddaramiah adding that when the latter was chief minister , none of the partymen said a word against him.
Parameshwara was so angry that he even left the meeting midway in a huff,taking everybody by surprise even as partymen wondered as to why Siddaramiah was keen to give the home portfolio to M B Patil, notwithstanding his seniority.
Significantly, even D K Shivkumar, another senior minister in the Cong-JDS government was unhappy when the subject of giving up a few of his portfolios came up.He looks after irrigation and medical education. He is reported to have quipped angrily that he would rather give up everything and prefer to return to his constituency .
Another minister Krishna Byre Gowda who holds the important law and Parliamentary affairs and RDPR ministry, is willing to give up the law ministry but other inductees are keener to have the ministry of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.
The Congress party,however, sought to underplay these conflicts adding that there were no differences and that everybody was on the same page but could not explain how the critical issue has now been left for Rahul Gandhi to sort out.