Bengaluru, June 11: To avoid any further dissidence over the distribution of ministries between the coalition partners Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka, the former’s floor leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said on Sunday that he would speak with party president Rahul Gandhi to fill the six ministerial berths allocated to the party. “Let me see. I will discuss with Rahulji, if I get to meet him in New Delhi, about considering immediate filling of the remaining six berths allocated to the Congress to prevent dissidence among our ministerial aspirants,” he told news agency PTI.
The state party leaders such as MB Patil, Satish Jarkiholi, Roshan Baig, NA Harris, Ramalinga Reddy and HK Patil were disappointed for not being allotted ministries in the Congress-JDS coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy. Mallikarjun Kharge promised, “Our high command will discuss with them (senior Congress leaders who were ministers in previous governments) and solve the problem in the next few days. Already, KC Venugopal and Ghulam Nabi Azad are also in touch with them. There is no problem and everything will be solved.”
On June 6, after an intense bargain, 25 new ministers were inducted into the Congress-JDS combine. Out of the 22 positions, Congress has six vacancies left whereas the JDS has to fill one out of 12 positions.
Commenting on the loyalty of the leaders, Kharge asserted, “We have expanded the cabinet and portfolios distributed. Heartburn among our ministerial aspirants, including MB Patil and Jarkiholi, who did not get berths, will subside. That will happen because they are interested in strengthening the party, not deserting it.”
Kharge further asserted that the party President is planning a rotational ministerial policy to pacify the legislators. Keeping in mind the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Kharge said the party leaders are aiming to build a strong party. He added, “Whatever it may be, in the interest of the party, the leaders and the high command will take appropriate decisions and all party workers will follow suit.”
When asked whether the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee would consider a power agreement wherein each coalition partner would head the government for 30 months, Kharge replied that the question does not arise as the terms and conditions of the coalition have already been announced by KC Venugopal which is binding on all leaders.
The Congress leader however expressed his disappointment over the party’s failure to win a majority in the Karnataka assembly polls. He said, “By unhappiness I mean we did not get a majority. Had we got it, we would not have formed a coalition government. In coalition, we have to adopt a give and take policy.”