Move follows failure of State Congress to placate disgruntled legislators
After three days of tough posturing between the State Congress leadership and senior leader M.B. Patil and other disgruntled legislators over the “contentious” Cabinet expansion, action has now shifted to the national capital, where top leaders from both the State unit and the AICC will hold talks to iron out the differences.
As the State Congress leadership failed to placate Mr. Patil, who is upset for not finding a place in the ministry, sources in the Congress confirmed to The Hinduthat the party’s central leaders summoned Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Mr. Patil for talks to resolve the seething resentment within its ranks over the expansion of the State Cabinet.
Both Mr. Patil and Mr. Rao left for New Delhi on Friday and are expected to hold talks with central leaders on Saturday.
In the last two days, Mr. Rao had held a couple of rounds of talks with Mr. Patil and other legislators to quell the rebellion.
Earlier on Friday, in an attempt to pacify Mr. Patil and his group, KPCC president and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara met the former Minister and appealed to him to not take any hasty decision. However, sources said talks between them failed as several legislators stuck to their stand.
CM pleads helplessness
Following this, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy rushed to Mr. Patil’s residence to pacify him. After meeting Mr. Patil, the Chief Minister pleaded his helplessness.
He said, “I heard Mr. Patil’s version. But there’s nothing I can do. Only the Congress can handle this. I came to pacify him because we share a personal relationship. My work is limited to communicating to the Congress high command that they need to take steps immediately.”
The Cabinet expansion has caused heartburn among over a dozen MLAs in the coalition and supporters of some of the ministerial aspirants are continuing their protests. Disgruntled MLAs held a meeting at Mr. Patil’s residence to arrive at a strategy to set right the “injustice” meted out to them by bringing the issue to the notice of the party’s central leadership.
Ruling out joining hands with the Opposition party, Mr. Patil said the Congress had dumped him. But he had not dumped the Congress. About 15 to 20 legislators were upset with the Cabinet expansion, he said.
“I’m not alone. MLAs such as Satish Jarkiholi and M.T.B. Nagaraj are with me and we’re together. I am not the leader of the group. We’re all equals. We will soon sit together and decide what’s next. But we are not thinking of quitting,” said Mr. Patil.