Power struggle crops up in state Congress again

Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah

The meeting to discuss portfolio allocation to the eight newly inducted ministers on Wednesday saw sparks fly between Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who are both caught in a struggle of one-upmanship.

With Siddaramaiah making a desperate bid to re-emerge as the sole power centre in the state Congress, the cold war between him and Parameshwara continues.

This time, the power tussle is over the Home portfolio, held by Parameshwara. With Siddaramaiah insisting that the portfolio be allocated to one of his loyalists, Parameshwara was caught on the backfoot, especially with the former having gained an upper hand during the second round of Cabinet expansion.

During a meeting with AICC General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal, Siddaramaiah is learnt to have proposed giving the portfolio to Babaleshwar MLA M B Patil, leading to a war of words between the duo.

Though the party downplayed the spat, sources said that Parameshwara, in no mood to be cowed down, asserted himself.

Through Venugopal, Parameshwara is said to have requested the high command to let him retain the portfolio. The Congress high command is likely to announce the portfolios for the new ministers on Thursday.  

Later, Venugopal told reporters that the state leaders had proposed a list, which would be approved by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Brushing aside questions about the prevailing disgruntlement, Venugopal said, “Our house is very much intact.”

Terming the meeting as fruitful, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said that nobody in the party was “unhappy”.

“There are no differences between Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara. There were no clashes. It was a fruitful meeting and everything was discussed in a cordial manner. Parameshwara had to leave the meeting midway as he had to attend the chief minister’s programme,” he said.

Rao also said that the party would allocate the portfolios on Thursday.

When asked about former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi threatening to resign as MLA, and the dissension by BTM Layout MLA Ramalinga Reddy, both Rao and Venugopal said that the leaders would not embarrass the party.

“Ramesh has been in touch with all the relevant people in the party. I don’t foresee any problems with him. He made certain comments about resigning when the portfolios were announced. He will understand and reconcile. He is a Congressman. He has got Congress blood in him. I don’t foresee him going to a communal party like the BJP,” said Rao. Terming Reddy a “loyal” Congressman, Venugopal said that the party would accommodate him suitably and that the MLA would not take any drastic step. 

 

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Power struggle crops up in state Congress again

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