Siddaramaiah loyalists acting as pressure group in coalition govt.

They are bargaining for Cabinet berths, posts of chairman of boards and corporations

Published - June 27, 2018 12:16 am IST - BENGALURU



The discontent over the State Budget between Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah and his group of loyalists seems to be continuing.

Legislators and leaders loyal to the former Chief Minister are acting as a pressure group within the coalition government to bargain for Cabinet berths, the post of the Legislative Council Chairman, and appointments for boards and corporations.

Hectic lobbying

The Congress central leadership has delegated powers to the State leaders on appointment of chiefs of boards and corporations, and this has led to hectic lobbying among the legislators and former legislators. In the first phase, it has been decided to appoint chiefs for 30 boards/corporations, sources in the party said.

Loyalists of the former Chief Minister, including both legislators and former legislators, who are sidelined in the coalition government have been holding talks in the city. The Congress central leadership rejecting Mr. Siddaramaiah’s objections to Mr. Kumaraswamy’s fresh budget idea has not gone down well with these loyalists.

Mr. Siddaramaiah is learnt to be unhappy with the alacrity with which Deputy Chief Minister and State Congress unit president G. Parameshwara and Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar expressed support to Mr. Kumaraswamy on the budget issue.

In the first instance, loyalists called on Mr. Siddaramaiah at the SDM Yoga and Nature Cure Hospital at Dharmasthala, where he is receiving naturopathy treatment. MLAs, including Byrati Basavaraj, S.T Somashekar, and Muniratna, who have identified themselves as Mr. Siddaramaiah’s loyalists, held a meeting with him at the hospital and discussed the style of functioning of the coalition government.

On Monday, Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and K. Sudhakar stood strongly behind the former Chief Minister and justified his stance on the budget. “The coalition government will not survive long if the JD(S) sidelines Congress leaders and workers,” Mr. Sudhakar, one of the aspirants for Ministerial berth, said. He said the Chief Minister should present a supplementary budget and include new schemes after the Common Minimum Programme is finalised.

Former JD(S) leaders

On Tuesday, another group of Mr. Siddaramaiah’s loyalists comprising H.C. Balakrishna, N. Cheluvaraya Swamy, and Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda — all of who quit the JD(S) and contested the Assembly elections on Congress ticket but lost — and the former Minister P.M. Narendraswamy held a meeting demanding that the party consider them also while making appointments for boards and corporations.

Sources said the loyalists of Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is expected to return to the city on Thursday, would hold more meetings with him to draw the coalition government’s attention towards their demands and grievances.

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