Congress continues to face discontent over ministry rejig

Bengaluru: Disgruntlement within the Congress triggered by the HD Kumaraswamy ministry rejig in Karnataka continued to simmer on Monday with miffed ministerial aspirants pouring out their anger publicly. Sulking over being dropped as minister, Ramesh Jarkiholi indicated his plans to quit as party MLA and said he would make his decision public in four days.

Supporters of another senior state Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy staged a protest after holding a meeting here and expressing displeasure about their leader not being considered during the cabinet expansion Saturday. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy sought to play down the developments, saying such “emotional reactions” were common and he would speak to the sulking leaders and pacify them. His father and JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda dismissed any threat to the government and said it was stable and the alliance will ‘efficiently’ fight the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In the much-awaited exercise, the six-month old Congress-JDS coalition ministry headed by Kumaraswamy was expanded on Saturday with the induction of eight members from the national party. However, it was marked by rumblings of dissidence as several senior congress MLAs are upset over their exclusion, with legislators including Reddy, B C Patil, BK Sangamesh and Bheema Naik coming out openly to give vent to their anger. Meanwhile, allocation of portfolios to the newly inducted ministers is also getting delayed. Sources said, the wait is on for the arrival of Congress

General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal as there was growing demand for plump portfolios among the new ministers. Ramesh Jarkiholi told reporters Monday: “Did you see TV on Friday; I’m committed to it. When, why all these things I will discuss (with supporters) and decide… whatever you heard about my phone conversation, I’m committed to it.”
He said, “Give me four days’ time. I will inform the people of the state about my decision. I have many things to discuss with you (media).”

A purported conversation involving Ramesh Jarkiholi was aired by local TV channels on Sunday where he can be heard speaking about his plans to quit as a Congress MLA, which hadfueled speculations about him defecting to the 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.

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