Bengaluru: The cup of woes of the Congress brimmeth over with half a dozen lawmakers skipping a crucial meeting of the legislature party and rebel legislators digging their heels in on their demand for a complete reshuffle of the cabinet on Wednesday.
These legislators stayed away from the Congress legislature party meeting convened by Congress general secretary in charge of the state, K.C. Venugopal, who had rushed from New Delhi to execute damage control measures with CM H.D. Kumaraswamy and other leaders of the state unit of Congress following the crisis gripping the coalition in the aftermath of a drubbing in Lok Sabha polls.
At the CLP, 72 of the 79 legislators showed up with former ministers R Roshan Baig and Ramesh Jarkiholi skipping the meeting, and four others offering written explanations for their absence.
CLP leader and chairman of the coordination committee, Siddaramaiah, however played down their absence, saying the coalition government was "rock solid" and none could destabilise it. “Where is dissident activity in our party? 72 of the 79 MLAs have come and four MLAs had informed me personally about their absence. Former minister R Ramalinga Reddy is on foreign tour, while ministers Satish Jarkiholi and Rajashekhar Patil (Humnabad) and Subba Reddy are busy with local body elections in their respective constituencies. So they have not attended the meeting." He, however, admitted that Mr Baig and Mr Jarkiholi neither attended the meeting nor sent word that they would not be in a position to attend the meeting.
Two separate meetings are now scheduled for Thursday-one of senior leaders and another of ministers-to end the impasse and extend the life of the state government.
State KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao dropped hints to media persons immediately after the CLP meeting that leaders of both parties would convene a joint legislature party meeting in order to iron out differences between the coalition partners.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader said, "The way the day-long deliberations have taken place it appears only overall cabinet reshuffle is the answer to resolve this ongoing crisis. The big question is whom are we going to drop and whom are we going to induct." The leader added that while, CLP leader Siddaramaiah was arguing that only vacant berths be filled instead of a complete reshuffle of the ministry, both independents have resorted to tricks with the Congress. "One day they unequivocally pledge their support to us, but on the same day, within couple of hours, they appear in residences of leaders of Opposition party.
As a result, several leaders in our party have expressed the view that instead of filling vacant berths with independents, those must be filled with "loyal leaders" so that the government could survive. Another group is proposing that the party should drop party's loyal ministers and accommodate all eight rebels in one go," the leader explained....