Bengaluru: Facing seething resentment within its ranks over ministries in Karnataka, the Congress has proposed a rotational arrangement where ministers will be replaced after two years.
- Congress proposes plan to replace ministers every two years
- The plan entails removing non-performing ministers
- The assessment of performance will happen every six months
Non-performers can be dropped even earlier if they do not ace their assessment, which can take place every six months, sources say.
The Congress's celebration of victory over the BJP after forming a government in Karnataka in alliance with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular was short-lived because of a tussle over ministries.
"Yes, there is some tension there, but I am confident that the Congress leaders will take the right decision," Mr Kumaraswamy told reporters today.
It took days for the allies to divide ministries. With the JDS scooping up meaty portfolios like finance, excise and transport, the Congress is left dealing with a mass of unhappy lawmakers.
The Congress leader at the heart of this chaos is DK Shivakumar, who had been the party's chief crisis-manager when it was trying to prevent defections to the BJP after a fractured verdict. The 56-year-old fought hard to make Deputy Chief Minister, which he believed was appropriate reward for his role. But Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy allowed only one slot, and that was taken by G Parameshwara.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi convinced him to accept two ministries instead. That cleared the way for the long-delayed swearing-in ceremony for ministers - at least two weeks after the Chief Minister - but the truce, apparently, didn't last long.
A senior Congress leader has reportedly said "this is not the final cabinet." Ministries have still not been assigned, indicating lingering resentment and worry for the Congress. The BJP, which is eight short of a majority, hasn't given up hope of the JDS-Congress government crashing.
The Congress has picked 25 ministers from its 78 lawmakers and has six more vacant slots to play with. Sources say those who were ministers in the previous Siddaramaiah government but have been left out this time are stewing at being benched. Among them is former irrigation minister MB Patil.
After a meeting this morning at Mr Patil's home, Mr Shivakumar said: "It is obvious that the senior leaders were hurt. Congress party has kept all options open to fill the vacancies and it will be done soon. I have belief in party high command. We have to build confidence among party workers."
One Congress leader said on the rotation plan: "It is not a very serious plan but aimed at tiding over these protests that are happening.''