Party wants to appease angry legislators as quickly as possible before it gets out of hand
As the Congress grapples with dissidence of its disappointed legislators, who missed Cabinet berths, the party is likely to fill up its remaining quota of six ministerial berths soon, instead of waiting to fill them in a phased manner later.
Sources said that though the aggressive posture by former Ministers M.B. Patil and Satish Jarkiholi had not gone down well with senior leaders, the party is also looking to appease their anger as quickly as possible before it gets out of hand.
While former Union Minister and Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge said he would speak to party president Rahul Gandhi to fill up the remaining six Cabinet berths soon, a meeting of Congress parliamentarians in the evening chaired by Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara also discussed the Cabinet expansion.
Mr. Kharge said that the dissent in the party would be overcome through discussions with leaders, and that senior leaders of the party are already in touch with disappointed legislators. He said that all those disappointed legislators are loyal Congress members and will not do anything that would affect the party or coalition government.
“Mr. Gandhi will decide on the names of the six who will fill up the Cabinet. Leaders within the party also feel that Lingyats have been underrepresented,” sources said.
Meanwhile, party sources said that several legislators, who have been denied Cabinet slots, are also unhappy with the All India Congress Committee general secretary and Karnataka in charge K.C. Venugopal for not taking enough interest in lobbying for them in the coalition set up.
“He took everyone along before elections, but is now missing in action. Legislators are now accusing him of not lobbying for them or trying to bring people across the table for discussion,” sources said.
According to sources, the evening meeting chaired by Mr. Parameshwara and attended by 11 parliamentarians — members of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, also discussed on Cabinet expansion and names of contenders for the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, a post which Mr. Parameshwara, currently holds, is inclined to step down from. Informally, they also discussed on the modalities to be worked out for the party to face Parliament elections scheduled next year, sources said.