Cabinet reshuffle by Kar CM sparks dissent in his party

RSTV Bureau
 Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly inducted ministers at Rajbhavan in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo-PTI

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly inducted ministers at Rajbhavan in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Photo-PTI

Resentment is brewing within the Congress party in Karnataka, after a major cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. Actor turned politician Ambareesh has resigned as Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Monday. Ambareesh protested with the Chief Minister after his ministry was changed in the new cabinet.

However, Siddaramaiah maintained that there was no dissent among party members.

“No dissidence in the party. Totally, there is no dissidence in the party,” he told reporters after the post-swearing in customary meeting of the council of ministers, “said the CM

Ambareesh sent a one line resignation letter addressed to the Assembly Speaker through his personal assistant, a day after the major revamp.

“Ambareesh has sent a letter of resignation through some other person; any such letter will be considered valid if the member himself submits it. I have sent it back,” said Shivashankar Reddy.

The Actor turned politician’s blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway in Mandya district, a bus was also set on fire near Saradagi in Kalaburgi district during a protest allegedly by supporters of Mallikayya Guttedar over he being denied a ministerial berth.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala administers oath to newly inducted ministers during the swearing-in ceremony at Rajbhavan in Bengaluru on Sunday.  Photo-PTI

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala administers oath to newly inducted ministers during the swearing-in ceremony at Rajbhavan in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Photo-PTI

Few other MLAs from Bengaluru were also unhappy over being excluded from the ministry, with S T Somashekar claiming that eight legislators were contemplating resigning their Assembly membership in protest.

“We will resign 100 per cent,” he said, questioning a “first timer like Kharge” being made a minister while neglecting their claims.

Other dropped ministers Qamarul Islam and Srinivasa Prasad also have made their displeasure open after being dropped. Supporters of Srinivas Prasad had called for a bandh in Chamarajanagar and Nanjangud today. Similar protests by supporters of various aspirants Congress MLA’s and dropped Ministers have been reported from different parts of the state.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday inducted 13 members to his cabinet relieving 14 serving members keeping the 2018 polls in mind.

Nine ministers of Cabinet rank and four Ministers of State were inducted at the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan with Governor Vajubhai Vala administering the oath of office and secrecy. Ahead of the swearing in, Siddaramaiah recommended sacking of 14 ministers which the Governor accepted.

Reports suggest that Congress high command Siddaramaiah is preparing for 2018, or at least that is the impression the party wants to give. But the party local leaders did not receive the reshuffle as high command anticipated to be. Several Congress cadres protested and burnt effigies of leaders after the swearing in of 13 new members.

Ministers who were seen as non-performers or were hit by some controversy or the other were shown the door, according to party sources, who also said the exercise was to inject “more dynamic members” into the ministry. Siddaramaiah received the green signal from the Congress high command on Saturday after intense discussions with party president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi, who authorised him to carry out the rejig.

After three days of deliberations in Delhi, Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka appointed Dinesh Gundu Rao as the working state party president to prepare for the 2018 battle.