Cong takes exception to K'taka unit over MLAs rebellion

Sources in the coalition said JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda had earlier spoken to Sonia Gandhi over phone on Saturday evening and lodged a complaint against Siddaramaiah

The Congress high command is understood to have taken exception to senior leaders of the State unit, including Siddaramaiah, for turning a blind eye on rebellion brewing within the party that led to the resignation of 10 of its MLAs.

Ahmed Patel, former political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, is learnt to have spoken to Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah over the phone and sought an explanation on the development in Karnataka. Patel asked Siddaramaiah why no steps were taken to prevent his own followers from tendering resignation.

Of the 10 Congress MLAs who resigned on Satuday, three of them – Muniratna, Byrati Basavaraj and S T Somashekar – were Siddaramaiah followers. Patel was also upset with the State leaders for not pacifying senior leader Ramalinga Reddy, who wields significant clout in Bengaluru. Reddy, who is a seven-time MLA, resigned along with 12 others.

A total of 13 MLAs resigned on Saturday – 10 of the Congress and three, the JD(S).

Sources in the coalition said JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda had earlier spoken to Sonia Gandhi over the phone on Saturday evening and lodged a complaint against Siddaramaiah. Gowda directly blamed Siddaramaiah for the rebellion and bringing the JD(S)-Congress on the verge of collapse. Siddaramaiah is learnt to have justified himself saying that the MLAs were upset with the style of functioning of the H D Kumaraswamy government.

It is said that Bengaluru MLAs, of the Congress and the JD(S), were upset with the government for not consulting with them while taking up the process of delimitation of the BBMP wards. The draft delimitation prepared by the government proves detrimental to these MLAs as many pockets of their constituencies are taken out and proposed to be merged with other segments, the sources said.

Besides, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal is learnt to have hit out at KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre for not taking the political developments that led to rebel MLAs tendering their resignation seriously.

The sources said the Congress paid a heavy price for ignoring Reddy and Ramesh Jarkiholi. While Reddy gathered support of disgruntled MLAs from Bengaluru, Ramesh had openly announced that he, along with his MLA friends – Mahesh Kumathalli and Pratap Gowda Patil --, will soon quit. Similarly, another disgruntled MLA B C Patil had recently hinted at resignation, but nothing was done to stop him, the sources pointed out.

Not only the Congress, the JD(S) leaders, too, are ruing their decision to not take its rebel MLAs seriously. Senior leader A H Vishwanath had been of late vocal in criticising the coalition government. In fact, Vishwanath, who was upset about not being made a minister, played a key role in bringing all disgruntled leaders together, the sources said.

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