Efforts to quell dissidence yield mixed results

Last Updated 25 December 2018, 19:39 IST

Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday took up the task of trying to convince disgruntled Congress legislators miffed at being not inducted in the Cabinet – an effort which resulted in mixed results.

Last week’s Cabinet rejig was marked by rumblings of dissidence, as many senior MLAs were upset over their exclusion. Siddaramaiah invited seven-term MLA and former minister R Ramalinga Reddy to his residence in Bengaluru for discussion.

Siddaramaiah was able to convince Reddy but did not meet success with Gokak legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi. Jarkiholi too had been open in expressing his unhappiness over being dropped from the Cabinet.

Jarkiholi, who has threatened to quit the Congress in a few days, declined Siddaramaiah’s invitation to meet him and left for his home district of Belagavi.

At the meeting with Reddy, Siddaramaiah is learnt to have told the former minister that his services to the party had not been forgotten. However, due to compulsion of coalition politics, he had not been inducted into the Cabinet this time.

Siddaramaiah told Reddy that he would see “good times” after the Lok Sabha polls. The meeting was also attended by KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and a few legislators close to Siddaramaiah.

Speaking to reporters, Reddy said that he was “satisfied” with the outcome of the meeting. “There were some issues which have now been sorted out.” Reddy ruled out quitting the party and said no BJP leader was in touch with him.

Reddy, who had served as the Transport and Home Minister in the previous Siddaramaiah government, has been a ministerial aspirant ever since the coalition government was formed six months ago. Miffed at not being inducted during the first round of expansion, Reddy had largely stayed away from the party activities for the last six months.

His name did not figure last week’s second round of expansion. Reddy had told his close aides that the party approaches him for his managerial skills every time there is an election but had ignored him during the Cabinet formation despite his seniority.

Another disgruntled legislator Hirekerur MLA B C Patil too declined to meet Siddaramaiah. Chikkaballapur MLA K Sudhakar, who met Siddaramaiah, said he had a “few things to discuss” and will take it up with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary incharge of Karnataka, K C Venugopal.

Siddaramaiah is planning to continue to hold his meetings with disgruntled legislators on Wednesday. He had a large role to play in the Cabinet rejig.

A majority of the eight legislators inducted are supporters of Siddaramaiah. Senior leader M Mallikarjun Kharge had said that as Siddaramaiah, Dinesh Gundu Rao and K C Venugopal were instrumental for the Cabinet expansion, it was for them to quell the dissidence.

(Published 25 December 2018, 17:19 IST)

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