Cong dangles Cabinet berths to quell dissidence

AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal and KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre have both ruled out postponing the Cabinet expansion.

The faction-ridden Congress is using the lure of Cabinet expansion and lucrative positions in boards/corporations as a means to quell dissidence, which has reached levels that threatened to unsettle the party’s coalition with the JD(S).

The Congress has six Cabinet positions vacant from its quota of 34. Also, the party can name heads to at least 20 statutory boards and corporations. 

AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal and KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre have both ruled out postponing the Cabinet expansion in the backdrop of the dissidence. The Cabinet expansion and board/corporation appointments are likely to happen later this month. 

By handing out these appointments, the party wants to put an end to disgruntlement of the powerful Jarkiholi brothers as well as that of party MLAs who are miffed with the way the coalition is functioning.

A prominent demand made by the Jarkiholi brothers is to have a say in the Cabinet expansion and board/corporation appointments so that their loyalists can be accommodated. Also, party legislators have repeatedly frowned that the H D Kumaraswamy administration had ignored development of their constituencies, while prioritising those represented by the JD(S). Party MLAs are also worried that the JD(S) has identified 60-70 constituencies where it is strengthening its base at the cost of the Congress. 

Disgruntlement is brewing in the Congress ever since Kumaraswamy’s Cabinet was first formed in June. Senior leaders M B Patil, H K Patil and Shamanur Shivashankarappa among others are miffed that they were not made ministers. The party must also deal with demands to increase representation of north Karnataka in the Cabinet, besides factoring in caste. 

Also, senior legislators from Bengaluru constituencies, especially former ministers Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig, are disappointed.

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Cong dangles Cabinet berths to quell dissidence

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