Congress camp worried as 20 upset MLAs team up

Congress camp worried as 20 upset MLAs team up

M B Patil

Disgruntlement in the Congress went up a notch on Friday as at least 20 estranged legislators who were not picked to be ministers in the H D Kumaraswamy cabinet, ganged up against the party’s leadership in an near rebellion, even as top leaders made efforts to pacify them.

Chief among the unhappy Congress legislators is former minister M B Patil, who declared that he was not alone. “Just because the Congress has dumped me, I cannot dump the Congress. But I’m not alone,” Patil said, even as Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress chief G Parameshwara tried to pacify him. “I’m no senior or junior. All 20 of us are equals. We will soon sit together and decide what’s next,” he said. Patil clarified that they were not considering quitting the party. The disgruntled MLAs may knock on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s doors for a way out.

M B Patil has been called to Delhi on Saturday, where he is likely to meet Rahul Gandhi. The disgruntled camp also includes veteran leader H K Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, M T B Nagaraju, R Roshan Baig, H M Revanna, B C Patil, N A Haris, Eshwar Khandre among others. 

Yamkanamaradi MLA Satish Jarkiholi said he was contemplating resigning as an officebearer within the party. “I’ve been unable to become a minister myself, or help others to become one. I’m not confined to my constituency. I have supporters all over the state,” he said.

“I will hold more consultations and I’m thinking of resigning (as AICC secretary),” he said in Belagavi.

N A Haris also said he was unhappy for not being chosen to the cabinet. “All of us have the same grievance,” said Haris, who represents Shantinagar. “As far as I’m concerned, the party should have given me an opportunity. The leadership should have taken a clear stand that those who were ministers before will not be made ministers this time. But then, you have included those you want.”

H D Revanna of the JD(S), who belongs to the Kuruba community, trained his guns on former chief minister Siddaramaiah, also a Kuruba, who has remained in his Badami constituency away from all the action. “The community demands answers. When Vokkaligas and Lingayats could be accommodated, why not us (Kurubas)?” Revanna asked. “Siddaramaiah is the leader of the Congress Legislature Party and the coalition coordination and monitoring committee. He has a role to play, but he isn’t here,” he said.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who personally reached out to M B Patil by visiting his residence, said his coalition partner should act fast to quell disgruntlement.

“I heard Patil out and listened to his anger. But there’s nothing I can do. Only the Congress can fix this. I came to pacify him because we share a personal relationship. My work is limited to conveying to the Congress high command that they need to take remedial steps immediately,” said Kumaraswamy. The Congress and JD(S) had reached an agreement on the ratio of the number of ministers from each of their parties who would be chosen to the cabinet.

Frenetic Friday

  •  Disgruntlement intensifies, threat of rebellion looms in Cong.
  •  AICC forms 6-member crack team to quell dissent.
  •  Worried CM Kumaraswamy does outreach to pacify Cong leaders. 
  •  Kumaraswamy meets M B Patil.
  •  M B Patil’s supporters confront Deputy CM G Parameshwara. 
  •  Satish Jarkiholi says he’s thinking of resigning as AICC secretary.
  •  Former CM Siddaramaiah stays put in Badami.