Inside Congress' Fight For Cabinet Berths, North Karnataka Strikes Back

Under the agreement with HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular, the Congress was to get 22 of the state's 34 cabinet berths. But it has left several of the party's top leaders without a ministerial berth, sparking discontent.

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There has been infighting for weeks in Congress over cabinet berths in Karnataka.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Congress was to get 22 of Karnataka's 34 cabinet berths
  2. Congress has been only able to fill 16 berths
  3. There is intense competition for a cabinet slot

In the intense lobbying for cabinet berths in Karnataka, Congress leaders have turned to data to make their case before the party leadership.

Under the agreement with HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular, the Congress was to get 22 of the state's 34 cabinet berths. So far, the Congress has been only able to fill 16 berths, because of the intense competition for a cabinet slot.

Lobbying for the remaining six has stretched into weeks that have seen much political unrest.  

A note "on the present status of Karnataka Ministry Formation" from the disgruntled leaders -- several of them from north Karnataka -- uses data to make the case that the Congress needs to give greater representation to its lawmakers from the northern part of the state.

"In North Karnataka, INC (Indian National Congress) has won in 41.67% of constituencies, but has got only 12.50% representation in the cabinet whereas, in South Karnataka, INC has won 38.20% but has got 26.47% representation," reads the note, which has been accessed by NDTV.

"In the entire cabinet, South Karnataka has got 18 ministers whereas North Karnataka has only 8 ministers," the letter reads. "Further, the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Assembly Speaker and Congress Legislature Party Leader (CLP) all are from South Karnataka. This has created a regional imbalance and injustice to Northern Karnataka and Central Karnataka."

The note goes on to take potshots at choices of those included in the cabinet from the Congress quota, especially the intake of 'outsiders'.

"Mr. Shankar, independent MLA from Kuruba community who has won from Ranebennur as Independent... has been made the minister sacrificing 8 MLAs from the Kuruba community who have won from Congress. This was a planned conspiracy," it says.

"Mr Shivanand Patil who has come from Janata Dal, later shifted to BJP and now in Congress, who was hobnobbing with BJP and Mr Yeddyurappa until he was made a Minister, in place of Mr MB Patil who is a loyalist and a prominent lingayat leader of the Congress in northern Karnataka," it further says.

The note goes on to make recommendations for those the Congress could "consider for the Ministry based on seniority, party loyalty, caste and region".

Top of the list is MB Patil, whose credentials are described thus: "From the  Lingayat community, party loyalist, seniority and North Karnataka region 5 times MLA and one time MP, who is a successful, popular irrigation minister in the previous Congress government."

Note on status of Karnataka ministry formation by NDTV on Scribd

It also offers caste-wise options for ministerial berths, for instance, "Mr HK Patil, Reddy community, party loyalist, ex-minister 2 times MLA and 4 times MLC, a senior leader from North Karnataka, OR Mr. Ramalinga Reddy, Reddy community, ex-minister and 7 times MLA senior and loyalist from Bangalore city influential - organizer and his daughter is also an MLA".

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