Karnataka: Discontent persists among legislators over berth denial | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Karnataka: Discontent persists among legislators over berth denial

ByPriyanka Rudurappa, Bengaluru
May 29, 2023 04:41 AM IST

Discontent persisted among senior party leaders over being denied ministerial post in chief minister Siddaramaiah-led cabinet.

The Karnataka cabinet reached its full strength of 34 on Saturday after the Congress-led state government inducted 24 new ministers. However, discontent brewed among many senior legislators who were denied ministerial positions in the Siddaramaiah government.

Discontent persists among senior party leaders over berth denial. (PTI)
Discontent persists among senior party leaders over berth denial. (PTI)

Senior leaders, including BK Hariprasad, Vijayananda Kashappanavar, Ramalinga Reddy, M Krishnappa, TB Jayachandra, RV Deshpande, former deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi who quit the BJP and joined the Congress just ahead of polls, are among the prominent disgruntled functionaries.

Though the allocation of portfolios to the newly sworn-in ministers is yet to be announced, a draft list of the same was leaked on Saturday. However, party leaders on Saturday said final decision on allocation of departments is yet to be taken.

However, Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi on Sunday told media, “The portfolios that have been allotted are final. It has to be approved by the governor, that’s all.”

Upset over being denied cabinet berths, many senior Congress leaders had skipped the swearing-in ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Saturday, and several places in the state saw protests over the issue.

Senior Congress leader C Puttarangashetty, whose name has been cleared by the party for the position of deputy speaker of the Karnataka assembly, on Sunday refused to accept the post.

The MLA, who is a strong ministerial aspirant, said he decided not to accept the post following the views expressed by his supporters and voters. “I won’t accept the deputy speaker post, my supporters and voters have asked me not to accept it, stating that I may not be accessible for them. So, they don’t want me to accept it, so I will not accept it,” Puttarangashetty told reporters.

Puttarangashetty said he was assured a minister position and hence he had been to Delhi. “But on reaching Bengaluru, I got to know that I have not made it to the ministry. I don’t know what the reason is, Siddaramiah can explain,” he said, adding that his supporters, who were upset staged a protest and have requested him to function just as an MLA.

Ramalinga Reddy, one of Bengaluru city’s senior Congress leaders and a former minister who has served in the ministries of M Veerappa Moily, SM Krishna, N Dharam Singh and Siddaramaiah, has warned that he will resign from the post of minister if he is given the transport department.

Amid the disgruntlement, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar and Congress MP DK Suresh, held discussions with Reddy at his residence in Bengaluru to pacify him.

Koppal MLA Raghavendra Hitnal said on Sunday that legislators from all castes should have been included in the cabinet. “135 people have been elected as MLAs in the state. Siddaramaiah is the chief minister. MLAs from all castes should have been included in the cabinet,” he said.

Meanwhile, supporters of Congress leader Rudrappa Lamani, a prominent Banjara leader and Haveri MLA, staged a protest outside the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office. No leader from the Banjara community, which falls in the Scheduled Caste (SC) umbrella in the southern state, found a place in the cabinet.

Earlier, Siddaramaiah had indicated that representation of various caste groups and regions will be taken into account during the cabinet expansion.

Out of the 24 leaders who took oath as ministers on Saturday, six are from the politically dominant Lingayat community, followed by four Vokkaligas, three Scheduled Castes (SCs), two Scheduled Tribes (STs), one Muslim, and one Brahmin. Other communities also got one representation each in the expanded cabinet.

Senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in council BK Hariprasad also expressed his displeasure on Saturday. “The chief minister has allocated ministerial berths according to his own wish. There was a practice of inducting council members into the cabinet. Siddaramaiah has changed that practice now,” Hariprasad said.

Former minister M Krishnappa representing Vijaynagar in Bengaluru is also upset after being denied a ministerial berth. Krishnappa, along with his son, MLA Priya Krishna staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan, where the new ministers took oath on Saturday.

Hungund MLA Vijayanand Kashappanavar, who was also expecting a ministerial berth, said, “People from the constituency and my community members had hope that I will become a minister. I am hopeful of getting a ministerial berth in the future.”

Meanwhile, amid dissent by Congress leaders, over not getting cabinet posts, Shivakumar on Saturday asked them to be perseverant like him. “I did not get any opportunity to join the cabinet during the late Dharam Singh-led Congress government and Siddaramaiah-led previous government. But I did not lose my patience. Similarly, those who have been denied cabinet posts should have patience too,” Shivakumar stated.

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