Bengaluru: With pressure mounting from aspirants for five vacancies in the cabinet of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress leaders in New Delhi have decided to induct one minister and keep the other positions unoccupied at least till next year’s elections to Lok Sabha.
Sources in the party said ministerial hopefuls like D K Shivakumar, who even joined the race for Chief Minister’s post, have been knocking on the door of senior leaders in Delhi, but have failed to muster support to make it to the cabinet.
Shivakumar and others have a grouse against Siddaramaiah: he has either denied berths to leaders who matter among various communities or given them insignificant portfolios while retaining key ministries for his supporters and members of the erstwhile Janata Parivar. The sources said though Shivakumar’s name was included in the list of “tainted” leaders, and therefore not included in the cabinet, others like Baburao Chinchansur have made it despite a probe by Lokayukta pending against him.
Besides, a letter from freedom fighter and Gandhian H S Doreswamy, urging Congress leaders not to accommodate Shivakumar in the ministry, was being held against him. Another Vokkaliga, M . Krishnappa who defeated former BJP minister V Somanna in Vijaynagar Assembly constituency was also denied a place in the cabinet though he was assured that he would be inducted by Siddaramaiah.
The sources said every effort was being made by some bigwigs from Karnataka to clip the wings of Shivakumar who was trying to emerge as a powerful Vokkaliga leader after the eclipse of his mentor and former external affairs minister S.M. Krishna.
Meanwhile, his supporters continued to mount pressure on Congress leaders through demonstrations in front of the party’s headquarters in Bengaluru. Later, office bearers of Ramanagaram unit of Congress submitted their resignations en masse as a mark of protest on Thursday.
DKs case up for hearing on june 3
Among the cases faced by D.K. Shivakumar, the interlocutory application before the Supreme Court filed by S.R. Hiremath, which will be coming up for hearing before the SC Green Bench on June 3, is the biggest threat. The Supreme Court had directed the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to submit a report on CBI investigation against Shivakumar.
Hiremath has submitted documents to the CEC on the involvement of the former minister in the alleged case of causing huge loss to state owned Mysore Minerals Ltd (MML). According to the documents, submitted by Hiremath, 8 firms, directly or indirectly owned by DKS, made windfall profits causing huge loss to MML.
The firms are Victory Exports, Indian Rocks, Vallish, Suvi Granites, Skanda Enterprises, Sai Trading Company, Nety Project Solutions and S Pradeep Exports. Hiremath claimed that around 9 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore was purchased at a throwaway price of Rs 15 or Rs 20 per metric tonne and exported at an exorbitant price. The respective Managing Directors of MML, including an IPS officer and other IAS officers, and former minister V. Muniyappa are involved in the irregularities.
T.J. Abraham, complainant in the de-notification case against Shivakumar, says that the MML case before Supreme Court was a clear-cut case. Abraham along with others had written letters to CM Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi. The letters also highlighted Supreme Court decisions already passed against the company owned by Anil Lad. The SC cancelled all ‘C’ category mining leases for illegal mining, they claimed.
In addition, a case was filed by Kabbale Gowda and T.J. Abraham in the Lokayukta court on denotification of land at Benniganahalli. The land was purchased by Shivakumar from Srinivas though it was already acquired by the government and got it denotified when Yeddyurappa was the Chief Minister. Proceedings of this case have been stayed by the Supreme Court.