GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
»
3-min read

Actress-Turned-Minister Jayamala Isolated, Upset Congress Leaders Want a Senior to Replace Her

Her lack of legislative experience and virtually no backing by her own party colleagues made the matter worse for the "dream girl" of Kannada cinema of yesteryears.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:July 4, 2018, 3:43 PM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Actress-Turned-Minister Jayamala Isolated, Upset Congress Leaders Want a Senior to Replace Her
File Photo of actor-turned politician Jayamala
Bengaluru: Tuesday was her first day as leader of the House in the upper House of Karnataka legislature. The actress-turned-minister Jayamala, 59, was cornered by the opposition BJP on various issues and the stalwarts of her party Congress remained mute spectators without bothering to defend the government and Jayamala.

Her lack of legislative experience and virtually no backing by her own party colleagues made the matter worse for the "dream girl" of Kannada cinema of yesteryears. The opposition BJP took the full advantage of divided Congress on day one.

The first time MLC Jayamala's induction into the JDS-Congress cabinet a month ago had raised several eyebrows and many senior MLC s had openly questioned the rationale behind it. The five women MLA s from the Congress had also questioned the decision arguing that ministerial berth should have gone to an elected woman MLA, instead of a nominated MLC.

The senior MLCs from the Congress like H M Revanna, S R Patil, VS Ugrappa and CM Ibrahim who were eyeing the ministerial berth made their displeasure public by staying away from party meetings.

By the virtue of being the lone minister among the MLCs Jayamala got the coveted post of leader of the House in the Vidhana Parishad. The state Mahila Congress president and MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar was the most vocal in her opposition to Jayamala's nomination to the council of ministers. Attacking the high command for ignoring her, Hebbalkar had said that they had preferred Jayamala's "services" over her “services” to the party.

It had angered Jayamala and she had hit back at Hebbalkar calling her jealous and insensitive towards another woman. A few women organizations have also condemned the usage of word "service".

Local Kannada TV channels aired several debates on Jayamala versus Hebbalkar war of words making the whole episode even uglier causing a huge embarrassment to the Congress.

About 20 Congress MLCs have already petitioned the party bosses requesting them to make one of the senior members minister and leader of the house.

The fingers are being pointed at the Congress in charge of Karnataka and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal. Party insiders hold Kerala MP responsible for Jayamala's sudden political fortunes. Some argue that she owes the position to former chief minister Siddaramaiah who made her an MLC during his regime.

A senior leader of the Congress said "it is either Venugopal or Siddaramaiah who made her a minister. Or both have a hand in her elevation. She has zero political or legislative experience. How will she take on the mighty BJP in the house of elders? Naturally, we are all upset and not cooperating with her. The Congress is in a bad shape. Without thinking about its precarious position some leaders are causing more harm to it by promoting their cronies for personal reasons".

Her caste has also become an issue in the whole episode. Jayamala is a Billava or toddy tappers who have a sizable population in coastal and Malnad (hilly region) Karnataka. The BJP swept these two regions in the recent Assembly elections. The Congress leaders argue that most of her caste voted for the BJP dealing a death blow to the party and making her a minister even after the poll debacle defies all logic and reasoning.

The BJP has made Kota Srinivasa Poojary who is also from the same Billave caste, leader of the opposition in the upper House and it has complicated the matters for the ruling JDS-Congress alliance.

Speaking to News18 Jayamala defended her elevation. She said, "I am a PhD holder in political science from Bangalore University. I was the chairperson of Karnataka Film Chambers. I have been in politics since 1990s. Some jealous people are spreading all kinds of rumours about me. I will prove them wrong by performing well in the House".

Some of her supporters argue that Jayamala's elevation has hurt the male ego and the male leaders are opposing her for that.

But some senior MLCs rubbish such theories claiming that during BJP's regime veteran Congress leader and a Dalit woman leader Motamma was leader of the opposition in the upper House and no one had opposed her then.

Jayamala had hit the national headlines 12 years by making a sensational claim that she had entered the Sanctum Santorum at Aiyappa Swamy temple in Sabarimala some 30 years ago. It had led to a furore in Kerala and she was charged with hurting religious sentiments.

Later she was acquitted by the court.

Also Watch

Read full article