Ramalinga Reddy breaks silence, hits out at Congress

Ramalinga Reddy breaks silence, hits out at Congress

Ramalinga Reddy

Disgruntlement seems to have exploded within the Congress as senior leader Ramalinga Reddy broke his silence on Thursday, accusing the party of adopting a “pick-and-choose” policy and sidelining seniors.

His outburst comes a day after the Coalition Coordination and Monitoring Committee announced that the Cabinet will be expanded on December 22, after the Belagavi session of the legislature ends.

Reddy, a four-time minister, has been miffed ever since Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s Cabinet was formed in June this year. However, he had not spoken publicly until now.

“Apparently, they wanted to give newbies a chance in the Cabinet, so some seniors were left out. But R V Deshpande, K J George and D K Shivakumar have been ministers in the past.

“They’re eligible alright, but this has become pick-and-choose. It should be that either all seniors get it, or nobody gets in,” Reddy told news channels.

Reddy, along with former ministers M B Patil and H K Patil, have been sulking. Internally, they have been asking the party leadership to explain how and why some seniors were picked. “Appointment of ministers should not be caste-based, but it should be done based on seniority,” said Reddy, who represents the BTM Layout constituency in Bengaluru.

Reddy asserted that the Cabinet will not be expanded until after the Lok Sabha elections next year. “It won’t happen on December 22, because it is shunya masa and it is inauspicious,” he said.

Congress legislator J N Ganesh, who represents Kampli in Ballari, also claimed that the Cabinet expansion will not take place on December 22. “There’s just too much dissidence within the party,” he said.

Coalition Coordination and Monitoring Committee chairperson Siddaramaiah reiterated that the Cabinet will be expanded on December 22. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi has given us an appointment on December 21. We will talk to him, the JD(S) will talk to its president H D Deve Gowda and the expansion will happen on December 22,” he said.

Ganesh also claimed that 40-50 legislators supported the idea of Siddaramaiah becoming chief minister again. Asked if Siddaramaiah should become the chief minister in this coalition government, Ganesh said: “We just want him to be the chief minister.” Siddaramaiah declined to comment.