N-K Congress leaders eye DyCM, KPCC chief posts

N-K Congress leaders eye DyCM, KPCC chief posts

Satish Jarkiholi

Disgruntled Congress legislators from north Karnataka will raise the pitch for their demands, which include making one of them the deputy chief minister, at the upcoming Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.

The group has also demanded the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president and other key ministerial portfolios.

These demands will be raised on December 18, when CLP leader Siddaramaiah is scheduled to chair a meeting, which will be held amid heightened dissidence ahead of the promised December 22 Cabinet expansion.

Siddaramaiah is expected to reach Belagavi on December 16 for the ongoing winter session of the legislature.

A section of legislators, who are also ministerial aspirants, have ganged up against the party leadership seemingly to champion the cause of north Karnataka, a region they argue is poorly represented in the H D Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Yamkanmardi legislator Satish Jarkiholi, whose family wields significant clout in Belagavi, is said to be leading this group with former minister MB Patil who hails from Vijayapura. Both of them are identified as loyal to Siddaramaiah.

In September, Satish and his brother, Municipalities Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, had kept the Congress on the edge by threatening to raise a banner of revolt. It was said that Ramesh had demanded to be made the deputy chief minister, a post the BJP had offered him.

The likes of MB Patil have argued that 41 Congress legislators have been elected from north Karnataka, of whom only five are in the Cabinet as against nine out of 36 legislators from south Karnataka in the Cabinet. The group is expected to demand plum portfolios such as Home and Water Resources to representatives from north Karnataka.

Meanwhile, miffed senior leaders such as Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig, both ministers in the past, are also making moves to mount pressure on the party leadership.