NEW DELHI: The Congress is facing infighting within the party over the allotment of portfolios to its MLAs in the Karnataka Cabinet. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday admitted to some issues within the parties but hoped that a decision will be taken soon. "Yes, there is some tension there in Congress, but I am confident that the Congress leaders will take the right decision," he said.
Kumaraswamy had on Wednesday expanded his cabinet by inducting 25 ministers, with 14 members from the Congress and nine from Janata Dal Secular (JDS) and one each from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the nascent Karnataka Pragnavanta Janata Paksha.
However, several Congress legislators have been upset and held meetings in Bengaluru after they were not given berths in the expanded ministry. Supporters of some ministerial aspirants even staged protests in the city.
The Congress had dropped several key members of the previous Siddaramaiah ministry, including MB Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Ramalinga Reddy, R Roshan Baig, HK Patil, Tanvir Sait, Shamanur Sivashankarappaand Satish Jarkhiholi.
A meeting held at MB Patil's residence was attended by disgruntled MLAs including MTB Nagaraj, Satish Jarkiholi, Sudhakar and Roshan Baig. Emerging out of the meeting, Jarkiholi, who is also an AICC secretary, said they discussed 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 also.. Today also we discussed and we will meet again," he said.
However, MB Patil downplayed the differences and blamed the media for creating "a hype" about the meeting. 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.
A similar meeting was reportedly held under former Minister HK Patil's leadership and was attended by Yashvantharayagouda Patil and SR Patil, among others. Stating that several MLAs had spoken to him personally and also over phone, HK 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. ".
Protests have also been reported from different places including Belagavi, Haveri and Chellakere, where supporters ofJarkiholi, B C Patil and T Raghumurthy respectively, demanded Minister's post for their leaders.
(With PTI inputs)