Karnataka

Inside track : Why the Congress-JDS legislators rebelled

Whoever worked on which MLA to tap to rebel against the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka had done his homework well. Because there is no one size fits all as far as dissidence goes in the latest episode of the Karnataka Nataka. Each one has his own reasons for raising the banner of revolt.

The Bengaluru group of four MLAs – Ramalinga Reddy, ST Somasekhara, B Basavaraju and N Muniratna – has a grouse against deputy CM G Parameshwara who handles the Bengaluru development portfolio.

According to a report in `The Times of India’, Parameshwara had cut down on the discretionary fund of the Bengaluru Mayor from Rs 150 crore to Rs 40 crore. The Mayor is known to be man of former Home minister Ramalinga Reddy, who is now one of the leading lights of the rebel camp. 

The rebel MLAs including Ramalinga Reddy seen in Speaker’s Chamber

For the better part of the past one year, Ramesh Jarkiholi has had a running feud with Water Resources minister and Congress party’s principal troubleshooter DK Shivakumar. Jarkiholi had accused Shivakumar of interfering in his home district of Belagavi and encouraging Lakshmi Hebbalkar as his rival. 

Anand Singh, the other MLA from Vijayanagar who resigned on 1 July is upset over the Kumaraswamy government’s decision to sell 3667.31 acres of land to JSW Steel in Ballari district at Rs 1.20 lakh per acre. Despite advice from other Congress leaders to the government to scrap the deal, the Kumaraswamy regime went ahead with it.  

JD(S) MLA KC Narayan Gowda resigned because he was upset with Deve Gowda’s daughter and his family’s interference in his constituency, KR Pete.

“I was repeatedly humiliated by women members of the Gowda family. They supported my opponents in my constituency. I was ill-treated. I was made to stand in a corner in Gowda’s home while my opponents were offered seats at the dining table,” Narayan Gowda told reporters in Mumbai.

The rebel MLAs with the Karnataka Governor

Tourism minister Sa Ra Mahesh was blamed for JDS lawmaker Vishwanath’s resignation. The allegation is that Mahesh interfered in Vishwanath’s work in his constituency. 

The one common grouse is about lack of funds available to the legislators. The Congress MLAs fear losing ground to the JD(S) in their constituencies as a result of which many seats are seeing parallel leadership of the two parties working at cross-purposes. 

But in this divided rebellion, the Congress and the JD(S) also see a glimmer of hope. That they would be able to strike individual deals with each of the annoyed legislators and bring a majority of them around. With the ministers resigning to pave way for some of the rebels to be sworn in, the process of reconciliation and giving more than what the rebels asked for, has already begun.

The Congress is confident soon it will be business as usual in Karnataka. The irony is that the MLAs elected in 2018 are forever in the business of playing politics in the state. 

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