BENGALURU: Many senior Congress leaders skipped the meeting that was called by AICC General Secretary in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka on Wednesday. The meeting was called to deliberate on the dissidence within the party, cabinet expansion and the alleged attempts of rival BJP to destabilise the coalition government.
Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig were among the most conspicuous absentees. They are among the strong contenders for ministerial berths and have been sulking after failing to make the cut during the formation of the coalition government. Former minister Satish Jarkiholi, who is locked in a cold war with Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar, also stayed away.
Though party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge and former chief minister Veerappa Moily were invited, they could not attend the meeting due to other engagements.The absence of Reddy and Baig is being seen as part of the pressure tactic to clinch a ministerial berth. However, sources close to Reddy said that he could not attend the meeting as he was busy with developments related to the election of new deputy mayor. The meeting saw a strong demand for immediate expansion of the cabinet to tackle the dissidence.
The meeting discussed issues related to cabinet expansion, transfer of officials, lack of coordination between Congress and JD(S) ministers and domination of JD(S) in the government. Many Congress leaders, especially from Hassan and Mandya districts, expressed their displeasure at the style of functioning of the coalition government. “Congress workers and local leaders are facing harassment from JD(S) workers. Our request for funds for development of the constituency and transfer of officials or nomination to various local committees are being ignored,” leaders from Hassan and Mandya complained.