Chinks in JD(U)-Cong camps in Karnataka after cabinet expansion

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Bengaluru: Chinks in both the camps of caolition parterns in Karnataka – JD(U) and Cong – are blatantly visitible after the Chief Minister Kumaraswamy expended his cabinet on Wednesday.

It is not just the alleged raw deal meted out to many senior leaders in Congress and JD(S) which is posing a threat to HD Kumaraswamy government, the skewed caste and regional equation, especially in the Congress camp, may extract a heavy price.

MB Patil, who was at the forefront of the agitation demanding a separate Lingayat religion, has already expressed his readiness to hit a collision course against the coalition government and the Congress leadership, while the miffed Satish Jarkiholi too can rock the government.

“Congress, which had 100% backing during the Siddaramaiah regime and all the recent polls in the state has been totally ignored. The party has not bothered to accommodate even a single Kuruba in the ministry though there are eight Kuruba legislators in the party. R Shankar, who has been made the minister from Kuruba quota, is an independent, not a Congress member,” a former Congress minister from Kuruba community lamented.

Supporters of MTB Nagaraj, the Congress MLA of Hosakote belonging to Kuruba community, held a protest on Wednesday. The Kuruba community leaders have threatened to stage a statewide protest on Thursday.

Apart from its traditional solid vote bank of Kurubas, there is trouble brewing among the Muslim community too as senior leaders of the community Roshan Baig and Tanveer Sait from old Mysuru province have failed to make it while a defector from JD(S) Zameer Ahmed Khan has been rewarded.

Both Congress and JD(S) are staring at more trouble ahead on ministerial berths, tie-up for Ramanagaram by-election to be held soon and also appointment of district in-charge ministers. Party’s decision to support JD(S) in Ramanagaram by-poll has already triggered trouble with Congress MLC CM Lingappa opposing the move and KPCC issuing a showcause notice to take disciplinary action.

The party hopes to pacify some of the disgruntled leaders and balance caste and regional equation by doling out ministerial berths in the coming days. The party has six more vacant berths to be used to quell rebellion. There is also a buzz about changes in the ministry after the 2019 Lok Sabha election to fulfil the ministerial aspirations of a few more. Appointment of heads for various Boards and Corporations also provides a means to assuage the feelings of disgruntled MLAs.

“Dissidence is expected during ministry expansion. Those who failed to get the ministerial berth should understand the limitations in a coalition government,”  said KPCC President and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara after the cabinet expansion.

LOOKING OUT FOR NEW KPCC CAPTAIN

The search for a suitable leader to replace G Parameshwara as the KPCC President is another immediate challenge staring at the Congress high command. Parameshwara is expected to quit the post soon in accordance with party’s “one man one post” norm.

KPCC Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao, who has failed to find a place in the ministry, is said to be one of the leading contenders for the post and AICC President Rahul Gandhi too is said to be impressed with Rao’s performance in the organisation.

However the all important caste factor could compel the party leadership to look at other choices as Rao belongs to numerically not so significant Brahmin community. With the party trying to expand its base among the dominant Veerahsaiva-Linbgayat and Vokkaliga communities, the names of MB Patil, HK Patil and DK Shivakumar are doing the rounds for the post.

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