KOLAR: If Congress' new line of thought over ministries turns into a reality, many leaders who have held ministries consecutively may be asked to step aside. Congress' "permanent ministers"- those leaders who inevitably become a part of the government whenever Congress is in power, sources said, are being asked to make "sacrifices" to accommodate legislators who have been elected more than 3 times but haven't been made ministers earlier. The thought, naturally, hasn't gone down well with senior ministerial aspirants of the Congress.
Fifteen days after results of Karnataka assembly elections were announced, the State still doesn't have a full-fledged government with cabinet ministers. Lobbying by senior leaders of Congress to be part of the cabinet is also responsible for the JD(S)- Congress combine's inability to finalise ministers and portfolios. After a series of meetings, including those with MLAs elected consecutively but never made ministers, the Central leadership of the Congress party is said to have asked its "permanent ministers" to contribute to the party instead of clamouring for ministries.
"The idea is to make way for new faces in the cabinet. Include those MLAs who have been elected more than three times. Let those who have been ministers forever now work for the party in the run-up to 2019," said a senior Congress leader. Former ministers of the Siddaramaiah cabinet, especially those from Bengaluru, sources said are being asked to step aside. In series of meeting with AICC General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, ministerial aspirants are said to have conveyed that they are willing to sit out if the rule applies to all senior former ministers, including D K Shivakumar. The Vokkaliga strongman is lobbying for a ministerial berth as well as the post of KPCC chief.
"On Wednesday, K C Venugopal asked the legislators who are lobbying for the berth to return to their constituency and begin working for the party instead of pressurising the Congress," said a Congress leader on the condition of anonymity. The two leaders are expected to brief Rahul Gandhi about the situation after which he will also make an appeal to the senior leaders to forego ministries, at least till 2019. "Term after term, a select few leaders have occupied ministries and others are now seeking a chance. Their appeal is to accommodate new faces in the cabinet at least till 2019 while senior leaders work for the party," a KPCC functionary said.