BENGALURU: Two weeks after H D Kumaraswamy was sworn in with great fanfare as CM of Karnataka, he finally got a 25-member cabinet with 15 from Congress and 10 from JD(S) taking oath as ministers on Wednesday. But almost immediately, challenges facing the JD(S)-Congress combine became apparent as dissidence reared its ugly head in both the parties.
Congress high command’s imprint was all over the party’s list as many heavyweights of the previous Siddaramiah government were given the boot. H K Patil, RamalingaReddy, R Roshan Baig, M B Patil and Tanveer Sait were dropped leading to protests from their followers.
M B Patil, who spearheaded the ill-fated move to give Lingayats a separate religion status, took exception to his omission and threatened to quit the party. Congressmen Krishna Byregowda and Vinay Kulkarni were deputed to pacify him. In Mysuru, Sait’s protestors took to streets with one pouring kerosene on himself. In Gadag, supporters of H K Patil announced they would resign from their posts.
Sources said by dropping the heavyweights, the high command meant to communicate its unhappiness with the local leadership’s wrong reading of the election which eventually forced Congress to become a junior partner in the coalition government.
The JD(S) leadership also had to bear the brunt of its workers’ anger. Supporters of M C Manuguli laid siege to former PM H D Deve Gowda’s home and left for Raj Bhavan after they were told that his name had made it to the list.
Portfolios are yet to be announced though a deal on who-will-get-what was clinched last week after marathon sessions in Delhi and Bengaluru.
Of the 15 Congress ministers, seven are new faces. Six JD(S) legislators have become ministers for the first time.
To keep dissidence on the low burner both parties had decided to keep a few berths open. JD(S) with 12 portfolios had to make last minute inclusions and its plan to keep at least three berths in reserve went awry and the party ended with just one in the bank. Congress has six berths to fill.