BENGALURU: Days after Cabinet expansion in Karnataka, infighting within the Congress is growing over the allotment of ministerial berths to the legislators. Several party MLAs have been vocal in expressing their reservations over the basis of which the ministerial positions have been assigned.
Congress MLA R Ramalinga Reddy questioned the criteria of selection claiming that injustice has been meted out to him by not giving him a ministerial position. "Juniors should become ministers, but 4-5 who became ministers before, they're still in Cabinet. I have been denied a post for being senior. If that was the parameter for not making me a minister, then why that is not applicable to Parameshwara (deputy chief minister), DK Shivakumar (water resource minister), Krishna Byregowda (law and panchayat minister) and a few others?" Reddy said.
In the Cabinet reshuffle and expansion last week, MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and Independent R Shankar were dropped from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) ministry. Ramesh's brother, Satish Jarkiholi, MB Patil and six others were inducted into the ministry on the same day. has gone into hibernation, much to the discomfort of the government.
A day after being dropped, an audio clip of Belagavi strongman and Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi has surfaced where he reportedly said that he and others would resign and people would get to see the changes within a week. Jarkiholi had been unhappy ever since the coalition government took over. He reportedly even held a meeting with his confidant MLAs to decide his future course of action.
Another minister dropped from the Cabinet, Karnataka Prajnyavantha Janatha Party MLA, R Shankar had already hinted that he will not hesitate in thinking about joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Ahead of the expansion, he had said: "Congress is ditching me. BJP hasn't contacted me yet, but if I am dropped from Cabinet I'll rethink."
Another disgruntled voice came from Chikkaballapur MLA Dr K Sudhakar who said that some districts are underrepresented. "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," he said.
However, former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday rubbished any rebellion from MLAs in the party. Siddaramaiah, who is a coordinator of the ruling coalition, said: "There is no discontent in the party and nobody will resign. His (Ramesh Jarkiholi) brother (Satish) has been made minister from his family."