Appointments to boards, corporations stoke K’taka Cong internal strife
Bengaluru: The strategy of the Karnataka Congress of appeasing MLAs by appointing them to boards and corporations has backfired, with many legislators rejecting the nominations and demanding cabinet ministerial positions.
The developments are closely monitored by the BJP, which has become offensive in state politics. And with the seasoned expert in executing ‘Operation Lotus’, former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, gaining prominence in state BJP affairs, the Congress is facing a worrying situation, according to experts.
Sources also state that many senior MLAs and ministers issue damaging statements about “neglecting Lingayats, appointing more Deputy CMs, changing the guard after 2.5 years, and highhandedness of the high command”, but the party is not taking action, fearing backlash.
More than this, the party leadership is concerned about the lurking danger of ‘Operation Lotus’.
To avoid any possibility of endangering their position in one of the resourceful states in India, the high command has decided to tolerate and put up with the open defiance of the top leadership, sources said.
Amid this Catch-22 situation, the rebellion of Congress legislators over the appointments to boards and corporations has increased the party’s woes in Karnataka.
Sources in the Congress party confirm that senior legislators Hampanagouda Badarli and S.N. Subba Reddy have rejected their appointments. A strong aspirant for ministership, three-time MLA Subba Reddy has called a meeting of his supporters and is prepared to make a decision. He sent back the appointment order to the CM’s office.
Subba Reddy was appointed as the Chairman of the Karnataka Seeds Corporation.
The Congress leadership has also failed to satisfy the five-time MLA, Hampanagouda Badarli, which made him the Chairman of the State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation.
Sources said that more than 10 MLAs in the north Karnataka region alone, many of them prominent leaders, are unhappy with their appointments. Most MLAs are dissatisfied with not receiving funds as the Congress government focuses on delivering guarantee schemes.
The Congress government announced appointments to 34 boards and corporations on January 26 and is preparing to announce another list of 45 for the boards and corporations soon.
On the other hand, the statement of veteran Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa that Yediyurappa’s son, BJP MP B.Y. Raghavendra, should win in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections has embarrassed the party. State President and DyCM D.K. Shivakumar, in damage control mode, maintained that his party is going to wrestle the Shivamogga seat currently represented by MP Raghavendra.
Yediyurappa and prominent BJP leaders welcomed the statements by the Congress veteran and congratulated Shamanur Shivashankarappa, much to the chagrin of the Congress party.
The Congress ministers in Karnataka, backed by CM Siddaramaiah, challenged and slammed the highhandedness of the high command recently, seen as a precursor to the developments that would unfold in the coming days regarding a change of guard in the state.
Sources said that CM Siddaramaiah has gained the upper hand in the current appointments, and the high command had to concede to him. Political circles also confirm that the objection to the highhandedness of the national leadership by CM Siddaramaiah loyalists is a subtle message to the party’s high command on any move against him.
DyCM Shivakumar, who is patiently waiting to stake his claim to become the CM, and is working hard to win the most number of seats for the party in the Lok Sabha elections, seems confident of achieving the task by managing the internal strife.
He maintained that the appointments to boards and corporations were done only after taking everyone’s opinion into account. Shivakumar also stated that there were many from the opposition who wanted to switch allegiance to the Congress.
Sources said that the BJP is pleased with the developments in the Congress party, and an all-out effort will be made after the Lok Sabha elections to bring down the ruling government.
BJP’s state President B.Y. Vijayendra has categorically stated that the party is not engaging in ‘Operation Lotus’ in Karnataka. However, political circles said that this should be a warning to Congress, as politicians often say the opposite of what they intend to do.
Vijayendra played a major role in ensuring the collapse of the JD(S)-Congress government and anointing his father Yediyurappa to the post of CM in 2019.
The BJP has long ago started working on dismantling the Congress government the way the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government was dismantled in Maharashtra. Fingers are crossed in both camps over the turn of events in the near future.