BJP offers DyCM post to Ramesh; Congress on edge

BJP offers DyCM post to Ramesh; Congress on edge

Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and brother Satish Jarkiholi. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

Disgruntled Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi is learnt to have told Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, that the BJP has offered to make him deputy chief minister. This has left the Congress on tenterhooks. 

Siddaramaiah, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader who held talks with the aggrieved legislators on Monday and Tuesday, left for Delhi, to apprise the party high command of the situation, including the offer BJP had made to Ramesh. Before leaving, however, Siddaramaiah claimed all was well in the party.

READ MORE: (DH Exclusive) ‘If D K Shivakumar is kept away from Belagavi, all will be fine’

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy also swung into action. He held talks with Ramesh and his MLA brother Satish Jarkiholi at a private hotel along with a few miffed Congress MLAs. According to sources, he assured them that their demands, especially those pertaining to their constituencies, will be fulfilled.

The Jarkiholi brothers, who are locked in a turf war with Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar, are hell bent on the fulfilment of their demands, which has kept the Congress on the edge. Ramesh, especially, appears to be more firm.

The immediate priority for the Congress, party insiders said, was to pacify all disgruntled factions that are being wooed by the BJP. The factions include those seeking ministerial berths, board/corporation appointments and legislators who are upset over the way the coalition is functioning.

READ MORE: Who are the Jarkiholi brothers?

The party is considering postponing the Cabinet expansion scheduled later this month as it is worried about cross-voting in the crucial Legislative Council byelections on October 3. State party leaders are also expected to finalise the candidatures for the bypolls during their meeting with the party high command.

Kumaraswamy has assured us that problems with constituencies will be resolved, Satish told reporters. Several MLAs are unhappy that their constituency works were hit under the Kumaraswamy-led coalition government. “He assured resolution in a phased manner,” Satish said. “We have also demanded one Cabinet berth for Ballari district, especially for a legislator from the ST community.”

READ MORE: Anything can happen in next 15 days: Satish Jarkiholi

Downplaying the crisis, Siddaramaiah said not a single legislator was ready to quit the party. “There are no differences in the party and nobody will quit. There are ministerial and board/corporation aspirants. That doesn’t mean people will quit,” he told reporters. “The coalition will last for five years.” Asked about Ramesh meeting MLAs and the chief minister, Siddaramaiah said: “He’s a minister. What’s wrong in him meeting MLAs and the CM? Why attribute a special meaning?” Siddaramaiah did admit that there was discontentment in the party. “There are, here and there, some minor grouses regarding constituencies. That doesn’t mean there’s a big crisis.”

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