Plum posts offered to pacify Karnataka Congress dissidents

Bengaluru: With no let-up in discontent over removal of ministers and denial of cabinet posts to aspiring lawmakers, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has offered posts of chairmen of various boards and corporations to pacify some of them, a party source said on Saturday.

“Efforts are on to pacify the disgruntled lawmakers who lost their ministerial posts and those who could not become ministers in the June 19 cabinet reshuffle by making them chairmen of state boards, corporations and state-run enterprises, which carry minister of state rank,” a party official told IANS here.

Revamping the three-year-old ministry, the chief minister sacked 14 ministers and inducted 13 lawmakers, including nine with cabinet rank and four as ministers of state, triggering revolt in the ruling Congress.

As the 20-day monsoon session of the state legislature is scheduled to commence on July 4, Siddaramaiah deputed senior party leaders and ministers to the dissident legislators with the offer of plum posts to quell the rebellion against him.

“On the advice of the party high command, especially our president Sonia Gandhi, state unit’s working president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Power Minister D.K. Shiva Kumar met former ministers Srinivasa Prasad, M.H. Ambareesh, Qamar-ul Islam and some of the aspiring legislators, including Malaka Reddy, Someshakar and Basavaraju an advised them to air their grievances within the party fora,” the source said.

The dissidents have also urged state unit president G. Parameshwara to convene the party’s legislature meeting before the monsoon session to air their grievances and decide their next course of action.

Rao, however, managed to restrain Kannada rebel star and former housing minister Ambareesh from resigning as Mandya lawmaker over his sacking.