Discontent over ministry reshuffle in Karnataka intensifies

Discontent over ministry reshuffle in Karnataka intensifies

Discontent over ministry reshuffle in Karnataka intensifies

Discontent today snowballed in the ruling Congress over Karnataka's major ministry revamp as disgruntled party legislators decided to meet shortly to plan their next course of action, keeping the option open of pressing for leadership change.

A series of meetings were being held for the past two days by several dropped ministers and ministerial berth aspirants after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah carried out a major rejig on Sunday, sacking 14 ministers and inducting 13 others to burnish the party's image with two years left for Assembly polls.

"...we will meet on Sunday or Monday. We will all sit together, whatever decision is taken there, is final. Now we have gone one step ahead. To save the party, if leadership change is needed, we are ready for it," senior Congress MLA from Yadagiri Malka Reddy told reporters after a meeting.

"We will fight being within the party. First option is to see if there is any chance to strengthening the party without leadership change. First, we will give medicine, if things are not solved, we will be open for surgery," he added.

Another MLA from Afzalpur Mallikayya Guttedar, sulking over not being given a ministerial berth, said "we will decide whether leadership change is needed."

The state Congress leadership continued its efforts to douse dissidence, with newly-appointed Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao seeking to pacify key sacked ministers like Ambareesh and Srinivasa Prasad, who have openly questioned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's action of dropping them.

After meeting Ambareesh and Prasad, Rao said, "...he (Ambareesh) has no resentment against the party. I feel he will come out of these things soon, his support is needed for the party."

Senior leaders like Prasad, Qamarul Islam, Ambareesh, Baburao Chinchansoor who were dropped from the Ministry have openly criticised Siddaramaiah.

Ambareesh has even resigned as MLA, which has not been accepted.

Ministerial aspirants like Guttedar, Malka Reddy, S T Somashekar and Rajshekar Patil among others have made open remarks against Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge (Congress Leader in Lok Sabha), whose son Priyank Kharge has managed to find a ministerial slot.

Somashekar has claimed that eight legislators were contemplating resigning their Assembly membership in protest.

Sources said party's state in-charge Digvijay Singh is  expected to visit here soon in order to control the growing  resentment within the party.

Siddaramaiah had carried out the reshuffle after the Congress High Command gave its clearance for the major rejig, seen as an attempt to improve the party's image to retain power in the next polls in the only major bastion under its control after losing power in several states, most recently in Assam. 

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