Karnataka polls: Siddaramaiah steps in early to coax disgruntled ministers

Karnataka polls: Siddaramaiah steps in early to coax disgruntled ministers

Holds one-to-one meetings to redress their grievances

Karnataka polls: Siddaramaiah steps in early to coax disgruntled ministers

In an attempt to appease his disgruntled ministers, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday held one-to-one meetings with all of them.

Siddaramaiah spent almost the entire day at the KPCC main office on Queen's Road, holding the meetings with the ministers and the district Congress presidents. KPCC president G Parameshwara was also present at the meetings. The exercise was meant to get a feedback on candidate selection and assess poll preparedness.

Housing Minister M Krishnappa, Municipal Administration Minister Eshwar Khandre, Fisheries Minister Pramod Madhwaraj and Horticulture Minister S S Mallikarjun were said to be upset with the party and the government for sidelining them. And it was speculated that Krishnappa and Madhwaraj may even join the BJP.

Khandre and Mallikarjun, who are incharge of Bidar and Davangere districts respectively, were unhappy with the decision to accord separate religion minority status to Lingayats. Khandre was also opposed to the induction of businessman Ashok Kheny into the party.

Krishnappa, who is also Mandya district incharge minister, was upset with Energy Minister D K Shivakumar's interference in the district administration. Madhwaraj, who is incharge of Udupi district, was said to be upset with Siddaramaiah for not visiting the Krishna temple in Udupi. However, all the four ministers later told the media that they were not quitting the party.


Heat of rebellion

The ruling Congress has started feeling the heat of rebellion, with the party taking up the process of candidate selection. The ticket aspirants from Melkote constituency in Mandya have opposed Siddaramaiah's proposal not to field a Congress candidate in the constituency and instead, extend support to Darshan Puttannaiah, son of late MLA K S Puttannaiah in the polls. The aspirants have threatened to contest the elections as rebels.

Similarly, the party is facing rebellion in Mahadevapura, Chamarajpet and Pulakeshinagar constituencies in Bengaluru as the local leaders are opposing the plan to give tickets to those who joined the Congress recently.

Later speaking to reporters, Parameshwara said 50% of the sitting legislators would get the ticket to contest the polls. Party president Rahul Gandhi will take a call on the rest of them.