Dissidence in Cong: Siddaramaiah in dock

With his close associates rebelling against the party, former chief minister and chairman of the Coalition Coordination Committee Siddaramaiah, is worried that all eyes are on him; for the wrong reasons.

Siddaramaiah to blame?

First, the Jarkiholi brothers rebelled. Now, with Chikkaballapur MLA K Sudhakar (another close associate) mounting pressure on the party for a cabinet berth, Siddaramaiah's loyalty and trustworthiness are yet again in question.

When the Jarkiholis threatened to raise a banner of revolt, rumours were rife that Siddaramaiah had covertly supported their dissidence. With Sudhakar doing the same, Siddaramaiah's loyalty has once again become questionable.

Given that Siddaramaiah had expressed his displeasure against the coalition government in the initial stages, he is now concerned that he'll be blamed for all ongoing dissidence.

Cong jittery

Sudhakar, along with Hoskote MLA M T B Nagaraj and Mulbagal MLA H Nagesh (Independent, supporting Congress), gave Congress jitters on Saturday, when they took off to Chennai; fuelling rumours that they were poached by the BJP.

The Congress, which was quick to act, ensured that the MLAs returned to Bengaluru the same night.

MLA taken to task 

Upon their return, Siddaramaiah is learned to have taken Sudhakar to task. Reprimanding Sudhakar for taking-off with two other MLAs, especially when the BJP was making all out efforts to destabilise the government, Siddaramaiah is learnt to have told the MLA that his actions had led to mistrust among party leaders.

Sources said that Siddaramaiah told Sudhakar that the party high command had vested the responsibility of keeping the party united in Karnataka, to him, and the MLA's actions had sent out a wrong signal, and raised suspicions about him (Siddaramaiah).

Siddaramaiah however, is said to have coaxed Sudhakar and other disgruntled MLAs, to stay back in the party by assuring them that their grouses would be addressed.

'Only e-mail, no blackmail'

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Sudhakar reiterated that he had not resorted to blackmail and that he was a party loyalist.

"I never said that I will quit Congress. We had been to a temple in Hosur. We will share our greivances with (AICC chief) Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah. I speak to Siddaramaiah daily. I am in constant touch with him. I don't know blackmail. I only know e-mail," added Sudhakar.

Sudhakar said that the party must give ministerial berths to those who are capable. "There is no need to grovel. My party leaders should be able recognise my capabilities," he added.

'Blackmail not condoned'

When asked for his reaction, AICC general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal squarely blamed the BJP. He said that "blackmailing" and "foul play" would not be tolerated by the Congress.

"Our MLAs say that Yeddyurappa himself is offering them money. Such ugly and dirty drama by the BJP will not succeed this time. Congress has the strength to deal with the issue. Blackmail won't be tolerated. If MLAs play foul, it won't be tolerated," he cautioned.

'Women will sacrifice'

Meanwhile, Belgaum Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar, who was recently in the news for feuding with the Jarkiholi brothers, told reporters in Bengaluru that the state Mahila Congress, which she heads, will not pressurise the party for cabinet berths.

A ministerial aspirant herself, Hebbalkar said that stability of the government was more important than one's aspirations.

"The coalition government is already dogged by conspiracies and confusion. Women, by nature are selfless and sacrificial. The government's stability is very important. So, instead of demanding ministerial berths, we will ensure that the government is not disturbed. Women, like me, are ready to sacrifice our aspirations for the good of the government," she remarked.

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Dissidence in Cong: Siddaramaiah in dock

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