In letter to Siddaramaiah, rebel MLAs pledge loyalty to Congress
Two rebel Congress MLAs, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli wrote to former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday to reiterate their loyalty to the party.
Two rebel Congress MLAs, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli, who have been untraceable for the past two weeks, wrote to former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday to reiterate their loyalty to the party after they were sent notices for failing to attend a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party on Friday.
Jarkiholi, Kumathahalli and two others — B Nagendra and Umesh Jadhav — had skipped the CLP meeting, which was called to take stock of the Congress’s strength amid speculation that some legislators were about resign from the party and in the process of destabilising the coalition government of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular).
Addressing the press after a meeting of the coordination committee of the coalition, Siddaramaiah, who is also the chief of the CLP, said the political situation in the state was not what the media had portrayed it to be and asserted that the government was secure.
“Four people had not come to the CLP meeting. I had called and I had issued them notices. Of them, three have replied and have said they are loyal to the party, they have never met any BJP leaders, and that they won’t leave the party,” he said.
While a copy of the responses was not made public, a close aide of the former chief minister revealed that Jarkiholi had said that he was busy due to personal reasons and hence, was not able to attend the meeting.
Jarkiholi, in his response, stressed the fact that he has been with the Congress for a long time and has been an MLA of the party for five terms.
“I will always be loyal to the party and there is no question of me switching over to any other party,” he has said in his letter.
Kumathahalli, too, has emphasised his commitment to the Congress, saying that he continues to be a “loyal worker” of the party.
According to Siddaramaiah’s close aide, Nagendra had responded soon after he was issued the notice and only Jadhav has not sent a response yet.
However, apart from their letters, Jarkiholi and Kumathahalli have not established contact with the party leadership.
Siddaramaiah overlooked that aspect and said with the letters, it was clear that the Congress-JD(S) government was completely secure. At present, the government commands the support of 118 MLAs, including the four rebels and the Speaker.
The coordination committee also held a preliminary discussion on the seat sharing between the two parties in the state for the Lok Sabha elections.
“We have held preliminary discussions on the Lok Sabha polls. In 3-4 days, we will meet again and discuss who should get which seats based on the strengths of both parties. That meeting will be held with former prime minister HD Deve Gowda,” Siddaramaiah said.
Protest over quota in promotion
However, the government came in for flak from members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, who protested at the venue of the coordination committee meeting, for not having implemented reservation in promotions based on the ordinance passed by the Congress government in 2017.
“SC/ST workers were supposed to be given reservations in promotions and the ordinance in this regard has even received Presidential assent. However, with his anti-Dalit attitude, this chief minister (HD Kumaraswamy) refused to even speak to us,” said M Venkataswamy, state president Republican Party of India.
Siddaramaiah said the view of the advocate general had been sought on the matter and the future course of action would be decided accordingly.