BENGALURU:As one team’s dissent fizzles out, another’s demands are cropping up in Karnataka. The tussle for power by MLAs left out of the cabinet in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government has become a worry for the All India Congress Committee that is attempting to douse the fire by rushing its representatives to pacify legislators.
‘Unhappy’ MLAs of the Congress, especially from the Bidar region, gathered at former minister H K Patil’s residence in Bengaluru. After hours of discussion with AICC secretary Manickam Tagore, the legislators, led by H K Patil, have put forth their demands. Sources in Patil’s camp suggest that they have proposed a 3+3+2 formula to end dissent and keep their electorate happy.
H K Patil’s camp has demanded three cabinet berths, including one for a Lambani candidate. The camp is pushing for either Umesh Jadhav or Parameshwar Naik to become minister. AICC has also been asked to appoint three MLAs to boards and corporations and offer positions of Parliamentary secretaries to two more from north Karnataka. Sources said HK Patil’s camp is of the opinion that north Karnataka and leaders from communities that have always backed the Congress have been left out of the cabinet.
“The regional, caste and community imbalance in the cabinet needs to be set right, else we won’t win 2019. Yes, we have asked for three ministries, three appointments to boards and corporations and two parliamentary secretary posts,” said a source close to Patil. He added that the party has failed to accommodate communities like Lambani and SC-Left sending a wrong message to its vote bank.
While the Karnataka High Court is hearing a petition on the sanctity of Parliamentary secretaries positions, the demand for the post is on an all-time high among dissenting MLAs. “Siddaramaiah, during his time, had appointed 10 parliamentary secretaries including one MLC. Since the party can’t accommodate every aspirant in cabinet, it can at least give them posts in the government,” a Congress leader at H K Patil’s residence said.
While H K Patil refused to deem himself or the MLAs who had visited him as “dissenting legislators” he acknowledged that there was unhappiness. “When people in our districts are unhappy and are protesting, we as social beings, as political beings and their leaders cannot say that we are happy” he said. “AICC may have been late by a day or two in intervening but as soon as they got learnt of the situation, they have rushed secretaries authorised to speak with us,” he said. Patil said meetings between Tagore and other MLAs are scheduled to continue on Wednesday.
MLAs Umesh Jadav, S N Subbareddy, Eshwar Khandre, Rahim Khan, Sharanabasappa Darshanapur were a few MLAs in attendance. MLAs like Amaregouda Bayyapur, Parameshwara Naik are expected to meet AICC representatives on Wednesday. MLAs Roshan Baig and Ramalinga Reddy are expected to extend support to Patil’s camp after results of Jayanagar is declared.