Bengaluru: Amid growing dissent in the Congress following the Karnataka cabinet rejig a day ago, former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday set aside any rebellion in the party.
Two legislators, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Independent R Shankar, were dropped in Saturday’s cabinet expansion. Ramesh’s brother, Satish Jarkiholi, M B Patil and six others were inducted. In an apparent bid to contain dissidence, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government appointed nine parliamentary secretaries and made 19 MLAs chairpersons of various boards and corporations.
A day after being dropped, Belagavi strongman Ramesh Jarkiholi has gone into hibernation, much to the discomfort of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government. An audio clip has surfaced, where the Gokak MLA purportedly said he and others would resign and people would get to see the changes within a week.
Siddaramaiah, who is a coordinator of the ruling coalition, ruled out the possibility of any MLAs resigning. “There is no discontent in the party and nobody will resign. His (Ramesh Jarkiholi) brother (Satish) has been made minister from his family,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Jamakhandi.
Jarkiholi, who had been unhappy ever since the coalition government took over, is learnt to have conducted a meeting with his confidant MLAs to decide his future course of action. He was not available for comments despite several calls and messages to him.
More vocal with the denial of ministerial berth was Congress MLA R Ramalinga Reddy, who alleged that injustice was meted out to him.
“I have been denied a post for being senior. If that was the parameter for not making me minister, then why that is not applicable to Parameshwara (deputy chief minister), D K Shivakumar (water resource minister), Krishna Byregowda (law and panchayat minister) and a few others?” an upset Reddy told PTI.
Reddy even claimed that there were four people who took the decision of dropping him. Siddaramaiah trashed the charge, saying the decision was solely taken by the Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Another disgruntled voice came from Chikkaballapur MLA Dr K Sudhakar. “I feel that few districts are over-represented, while few have been unrepresented. Especially on the part of the Congress, Vokkaligas (a dominant community) have been left out. The Vokkaliga community has not got its due share, what it has supposed to get in the ministry.”
While clarifying that he was a Congress loyalist, Sudhakar was of the opinion that the party cannot afford to have a disgruntled Ramesh Jarkiholi and felt that its fallout would be serious. To cash in on the rumblings in the Congress, the BJP said its doors were open to receive anybody willing to embrace its party and ideology.
“We have no connection with the developments happening in the Congress. It’s up to them to keep their flocks together. We will not contact anybody so long as they (MLAs) are in the Congress, but everybody is welcome whoever wishes to join us accepting out party and ideology,” BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje told reporters.