Lobbying for ministerial berths from a group of senior MLAs has intensified again in the State Congress.
As many as 37 MLAs, including A. Manju (Arkalgud), K.B. Koliwad (Ranebennur), A.B. Malakaraddi (Yadgir), Malikayya V. Guttedar (Afzalpur), K.N. Rajanna (Madhugiri) and R.V. Devaraj (Chickpet), who have been persistently raising their voice for inclusion in the Cabinet, met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at his home office ‘Krishna’ on Wednesday and reiterated their demand. They demanded that Mr. Siddaramaiah revamp the Cabinet and replace “poor-performing” Ministers with “deserving candidates”.
This group had even written to All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi in February expressing displeasure over the performance of some senior Ministers, including some with ailments. “There is no reason for the high command to ignore our demand for inclusion in the Cabinet as we are among the most senior members who have been elected for more than five or six times to the Assembly,” said one of them.
Although officials in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat said the meeting was to discuss strategies for the forthcoming byelections to the three Assembly constituencies in the State, sources said the legislators bargained for inclusion in the Cabinet and for their share of the appointments to be made to boards and corporations.
“It will do good for the party to complete the process of Cabinet expansion and appointments to boards and corporations before the August 21 byelections. The Chief Minister has assured us he will discuss the matter with the high command soon after the ongoing legislature session,” another MLA said.
After a drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, the byelections is being seen as a litmus test for the Chief Minister and his government. “We have promised the Chief Minister that we will work hard for the party’s victory. There will be more enthusiasm if party workers and senior leaders are recognised,” one of the MLAs said.