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Denied Ministerial Berths in Karnataka, Disgruntled Congress MLAs Hold Meetings, Stage Protests

The meetings were held a day after the 15-day old two-member JDS-Congress cabinet was expanded with the induction of 25 new ministers after intense bargaining for ministerial berths.

PTI

Updated:June 7, 2018, 7:40 PM IST
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Denied Ministerial Berths in Karnataka, Disgruntled Congress MLAs Hold Meetings, Stage Protests
(PTI Photo)
Bengaluru: Upset over not securing berths in the expanded H D Kumaraswamy ministry, several Congress MLAs in Karnataka today held separate meetings in the city.

The meetings were held a day after the 15-day old two-member JDS-Congress cabinet was expanded with the induction of 25 new ministers after intense bargaining for ministerial berths.

The much-awaited exercise has caused heartburn among several lawmakers in the coalition while supporters of some of the ministerial aspirants staged protests.

The Congress had dropped several key members of the previous Siddaramaiah ministry, including M B Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Ramalinga Reddy, R Roshan Baig, H K Patil, Tanvir Sait, Shamanur Sivashankarappaand Satish Jarkhiholi.

A meeting held at M B Patil's residence here today was attended by disgruntled MLAs including M T B Nagaraj, Satish Jarkiholi, Sudhakar and Roshan Baig.

Emerging out of the meeting, Jarkiholi, who is also an AICC secretary, said they discussed about the cabinet expansion and it was true that they were "unhappy" over not getting Ministership.

"We have discussed how to set it right by bringing it to the notice of state and Delhi party leadership about capable and efficient aspirants. We have discussed this yesterday as well as today and we will meet again," he said.

However, trying to downplay the significance of the development, M B Patil blamed the media for creating "a hype" about his meeting with party colleagues and asked, "what is wrong with it?"

Admitting that he was a ministerial aspirant, the former Minister said nothing was more important than self-respect for him, but "that doesn't mean being anti-party".

He claimed the discussion was about the welfare of the party.

Asked if he would agree for the Minister's post during the second phase of cabinet expansion, Patil said "...I'm not a second-class citizen. I don't have any aspirations further...even Deputy Chief Minister for North Karnataka then (before first cabinet expansion), I had asked for it."

Patil, a prominent ministerial face of theSiddaramaiah government, was at the forefront demanding religious minority tag for Lingayats, the largest community in the state.

Interestingly, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, the face of Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha that had opposed religious minority tag only for Lingayats, by advocating that

Lingayats and Veerashaiava are the same, has also not been inducted as the minister.

According to sources, Shivashankarappa also held discussion with leaders and close confidantes.

A similar meeting of MLAs took place under former Minister H K Patil's leadership and was attended by Yashvantharayagouda Patil and S R Patil, among others, sources said.

Stating that several MLAs had spoken to him personally and also over phone, H K Patil said, "we are thinking about how to avoid such faults from happening in the future and steps need to be taken in this regard.... we will take our next steps. ".

The party high-command, considering everything, including performance, should take appropriate steps, he said and ruled out him quitting the party.

Protests have also been reported from different places including Belagavi, Haveri and Chellakere, where supporters of Jarkiholi, B C Patil and T Raghumurthy respectively, demanded Minister's post for their leaders.

MLAs at the meetings are said to have expressed dismay about party leadership, especially CLP leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who is also the Pradesh Congress Chief, for not getting them ministerial berths.

Kumaraswamy had yesterday expanded his 15-day old cabinet, by inducting 25 ministers, with 14 members from the Congress and nine from his party, JDS and one each from BSP and the nascent Karnataka Pragnavanta Janata Paksha.

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