Bengaluru: In a sign that he is all too aware that an adverse outcome in Lok Sabha polls would send his government into a tailspin, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday convened a meeting of JD(S) legislature party on Sunday even as he attempted to stem a likely exodus of Congress legislators by offering a cabinet berth to rebels like former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi.
Sources in JD (S) said the meeting would discuss the political situation and the fact that the threat to longevity of his government could be real as his beta noire and state BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa warned of imminent collapse of the coalition government soon after announcement of results of general elections on May 23. The issue of acute discontent and distrust among grassroot workers of Congress and JD (S) during the polls though a pre-poll seat-sharing pact that neither party could control would also figure during his meeting with party legislators, sources added.
The Chief Minister, who cut short his naturopathy treatment and rushed to the city to pay homage to JD (S) workers who died in bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, lost no time in reaching out to Mr Ramesh Jarkiholi a day after his statement to the media that he would soon take a call about quitting the Congress. His move has caught many Congress leaders by surprise as they had given up on the former minister (Jarkiholi) after they discovered that he escalated his dissident activities by campaigning for the BJP candidate in Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency.
He had earlier attended a couple of meetings of BJP leaders and skipped the budget session of legislature along with three other MLAs for some time, provoking CLP leader Siddaramaiah to write to Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, seeking their disqualification.
Much to the surprise of his party colleagues, Mr Kumaraswamy offered to induct Mr Ramesh Jarkiholi into his ministry as his party has not met its quota of berths in the ministry. The Chief Minister reportedly told the former minister that if the BJP was attempting to lure him with offers of a position in the cabinet, he should return to the coalition government rather than jump ship and destabilize the government with the help of the BJP, according to sources in the party, who also pointed out that an adverse outcome in two Assembly by-polls on May 19.
Sources, however, said a belligerent Mr Jarkiholi merely told the Chief Minister that he would consult his supporters and party workers of Belagavi district.
Sources pointed out that his meeting with Mr Ramesh Jarkioli was preceded with a closed door meeting with deputy chief minister Dr G Parameshwara and water resources minister D K Shivakumar on steps to handle the looming crisis for the coalition partners.
Mr Ramesh Jarkiholi, meanwhile has discovered that the number of disgruntled party legislators who were with him before the polls, have now decided to work for the party instead of quitting the Assembly en masse. The former minister, however, has not given up his efforts to woo MLAs who were unsuccessful in securing a position in the ministry....