Cong-JD(S) in turf war over Council Chairman’s post

Basavaraj Horatti said that he had no choice but to toe the party line as both JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had requested him to take up the responsibility.

With Legislative Council Chairman D H Shankaramuthy retiring as member of  the Upper House on Thursday, the JD(S)-Congress combine has to overcome yet another hurdle, as both the coalition partners are eying at the coveted post of Chairman.

The Congress is unwilling to let go of the Chairman’s post as it enjoys a majority in the Council. The JD(S), however, has decided to put up a fight. It has even successfully coaxed its senior MLC Basavaraj Horatti to take over the post. Horatti, who was eyeing a ministerial berth, has reluctantly accepted to take up the post, which he had declined earlier.

While there are 34 Congress members in the Council, as many as 20 are from the Opposition BJP. The JD(S) has only 14 members. While two seats are held by Independents, five seats are vacant.

Speaking to DH on Thursday, Horatti, said that he had no choice but to toe the party line as both JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had requested him to take up the responsibility. “Kumaraswamy called me day before yesterday and insisted that I accept the post. He said that I was the senior most leader in the Council. When I met Gowda today, he too said the same. He also expressed his regret over not giving me a ministerial post,” he said.

Incidentally, Horatti was appointed as the pro tem chairman by Governor Vajubhai Vala on Thursday.

The Congress has so not not been able to zero in on a leader for the post as it is facing the ‘problem of plenty’. More than half-a-dozen senior leaders including Bose Raju, Prathap Chandra Shetty, K C Kondaiah, V S Ugrappa and S R Patil are vying with each other for the post.

It is learnt that former chief minister Siddaramaiah is supporting Patil for the post. Sources said that Siddaramaiah feels indebted to Patil, who had worked hard for ensuring his victory in Badami Assembly constituency.

Meanwhile, disgruntlement is brewing in the Congress on who should become the leader of the House. As many as 20 MLCs, who have started a signature campaign against Women and Child Welfare Minister Jayamala, have decided to urge the Central leaders to give a ministerial post to a senior MLC, so that he/she can take over as the House leader.

“Jayamala, an MLC who has been made a minister, by default becomes the leader of the House in the Council. We are not against her being made a minister, but we feel that somebody who can counter the aggressive BJP, should be given the responsibility,” said a Congress MLC on condition of anonymity.

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Cong-JD(S) in turf war over Council Chairman’s post

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