Cong snubs rebels, no Cabinet expansion now

Cong snubs rebels, no Cabinet expansion now

K C Venugopal, AICC general secretary in-charge of the Karnataka.

The Congress has sent out a clear message to its disgruntled leaders throwing tantrum that the party will not buckle under any pressure.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal, who held back-to-back meetings with some of the disgruntled legislators on Thursday, ruled out a Cabinet expansion for now.

“We will see the performance of the ministers for the next six months. We will change those whose performance we are not satisfied with. Then, others will get an opportunity,” Venugopal told reporters, essentially snubbing the disgruntlement. “All legislators are deserving. We will pacify everybody. All this is common in a party.” The Congress has six Cabinet berths vacant from its quota of 22.

Venugopal held meetings with H K Patil, C S Shivalli, Tanveer Sait, P T Parameshwar Naik, V Muniyappa among others. “I told him my viewpoint. He assured me an audience with (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi. All problems will be sorted out soon,” Patil said.

Shivalli said he urged Venugopal to get him a ministerial berth considering the fact that he represented north Karnataka. “I should’ve become a minister in the first round. But I’m confident about the second round. Giving me an opportunity is like giving north Karnataka an opportunity.” Muniyappa also said Venugopal had given him an assurance.

Over a dozen legislators, including former minister M B Patil, are slated to hold a meeting on Friday to mount pressure on the party. “I don’t know anything about this meeting,” Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC president G Parameshwara, who also met Venugopal, said.

Meanwhile, Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi contrasted with his younger brother Satish Jarkiholi, who resigned as AICC secretary earlier this week over not being chosen as a minister.

“Satish was a minister for 3.5 years in the previous government, but I never objected,” he said, clarifying that their rift had not caused a setback to the Belagavi district they come from.

It is learnt that Kumaraswamy brought up the issue of disgruntlement and urged the Congress leaders to take care of it, lest it should affect the government’s image. Venugopal is said to have told the CM that the Congress would take care it.

It is also said that Congress leaders took exception to transfers effected by Kumaraswamy. So far, 53 officers have been transferred, all of them related to portfolios held by Congress ministers. Apparently, Kumaraswamy said he would make sure it will not happen going forward.