Udayavni Special

K’taka Cong ministers struggle with problems of dissent and portfolio


Team Udayavani, Dec 27, 2018, 10:45 AM IST

Bengaluru: Portfolios of newly inducted ministers of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition cabinet is likely to be announced Thursday, party leaders said, as they grappled with problems of dissent and portfolio allocation.

The leaders also sought to downplay the dissidence within the party, even as efforts were on to quell the disgruntlement that had emerged after the recent rejig.

Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal held a series of meetings on portfolio allocation, which has become another concern as the new ministers lobbied for plum departments.

Several senior ministers were not willing to shed key portfolios they have, adding to the worry, party sources said.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, pradesh congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara among others, Venugopal said the portfolio list is being sent to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, for his approval.

“On portfolio allocation of new ministers, I have discussed with the leaders and took their view. It will now begoing for the approval of the Congress President, who will clear it very soon,” he said.

Terming the meeting as “fruitful”, Rao said Venugopal was likely to meet Gandhi Wednesday evening or night in Delhi, and he will finalise the portfolio allocation.

He said reports about ministers holding two or three portfolios not willing to give up some key departments for others, were “unnecessary speculation.”

According to reports, the meeting between top party leaders Wednesday was not cordial, as Parameshwara expressed displeasure over being asked to give up some key portfolios that he has, by Siddaramaiah.

He currently has departments of Home, Bengaluru city related affairs, Youth Affairs and Sports.

Denying such reports, Rao said “Everything has been discussed in a very good manner, I too saw reports about some clash.. they are all baseless.Some sections of media have also said that portfolios have been decided and they are outwith a list.

From our side all proposals are there, ultimate decision will be taken by Congress President Rahul Gandhi in consultation with Venugopal and us. I think by tomorrow youwill have the announcement,” he added.

The leaders also sought to downplay Ramesh Jarkiholi’s threat to quit as party MLA, sulking over being dropped as minister, and open expression of displeasure by another senior legislator Ramalinga Reddy on not being considered during Ministry expansion.

“You don’t worry about anything, our house is very much intact, everybody will be in Congress itself and nothing will happen,” Venugopal said in response to a question.

Calling Ramesh Jarkiholi a “good leader”, he expressed confidence that he will remain in the Congress.

Reddy is also a “loyal” Congress leader, the party general secretary said, adding that “definitely, we will honour him and nothing will happen.”

In an effort to quell the dissidence, Siddaramaiah had on Tuesday met Reddy and tried to pacify him, but did not meetwith success with Ramesh Jarkiholi who is incommunicado.

According to Congress sources, Venugopal, who met a delegation of Reddy’s supporters including Bengaluru Mayor and corporators, convinced them to wait till Lok Sabha polls.

However, he has given the task of convincing Ramesh Jarkiholi to his brother and newly inducted Minister Satish Jarkiholi.

“I will meet him (Ramesh) today or tomorrow. I will find him and meet him,” Satish Jarkiholi told reporters.

As Ramesh Jarkiholi is likely to make public his decision to quit as Congress MLA Thursday, Rao, describing him “hundred per cent Congress man”, said he has got “Congress blood in him, so I don’t see him going to a communal party like BJP.”

Ramesh Jarkiholi, accused of hobnobbing with the BJP, along with R Shankar, an Independent lawmaker who showed reluctance to be an associate member of the Congress, were dropped during the rejig.

In the much-awaited exercise, the six-month old Congress-JD(S) coalition ministry headed by Kumaraswamy was expanded Saturday with the induction of eight members from the national party.

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