New Delhi: As the ongoing crisis in Karnataka Congress refuses to die down, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday met the group of disgruntled MLAs led by veteran Congressman MB Patil in the national capital, but the talks remained inconclusive. This comes even as opposition leader BS Yeddyurappa, who is short by a few numbers to gain majority in the House, said that several Congress and JD(S) MLAs are willing to join BJP.
After the meeting, Patil said the plan of action would be decided after discussions with the 15-20 MLAs who are unhappy with the cabinet expansion. He, however, asserted that he has no plans to quit the Congress.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president Dinesh Gundu Rao and state leader and new cabinet minister Krishna Byre Gowda were present in the meeting. “We are trying to resolve the differences. The process is on at the moment. No decision has been taken yet,” Gowda said, adding that the consultations with state leaders were going on.
Patil, who campaigned for a minority status for the Lingayats, is a prominent state Congress leader. Under his leadership, a section of dissatisfied legislators have held several meetings last week.
After meeting the Congress president, Patil said: “I shared my views with Rahul Gandhi and explained the state's situation. I have not demanded anything.”
“I am not alone, many friends are together with me. I will share with them what happened in the meeting and then decide next plan of action,” he said, adding, “The BJP has not approached me nor I have got in touch with the saffron party. My fight is within Congress.”
Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, said, “It is our responsibility to induct those who are disgruntled with the JD(S) and Congress and their style of administration in every assembly segment, and are willing to join the BJP, thereby strengthening the party in every constituency."
However, displaying confidence amid the continuing disquiet in the JDS-Congress coalition, Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said, “At the beginning (of new government) there will be such confusion but by solving them we will complete five years.”
He added, “Things are getting right, we have tried to convince that six ministerial berths are still to be filled in, so there is still opportunity; we have also said that after two years there will be change of ministers.
“After two years Rahul Gandhi may change some people after looking at their performance. Also the party high command has said once in six months performance evaluation has to be done. So, many of them will get opportunity. I have requested them to be patient.”
The JDS-Congress cabinet was expanded on June 6 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.