Karnataka Dissidence & Firefighting by CongressThe Siddaramaiah ministry in Karnataka has been expanded to quell the rising tide of dissidence against the chief minister. The outgoing state Congress chief, G Parameshwar, has been included but not given his coveted post of deputy chief minister. Instead, he has been given the home portfolio, minus the intelligence wing. It remains to be seen whether this will make him come around or whether he will continue with his sulky and tricky ways that include plotting the downfall of Siddaramaiah.
By Sunil Garodia
The very fact that it needed a lot of convincing by Digvijay Singh, in-charge of Karnataka and a final intervention by Sonia Gandhi to bring Parameshwar around shows that he is still not happy. Another indicator is the statement by the chief minister a day after the cabinet expansion announcement that everyone in the Congress was happy. But a picture from the Sarthaka Samavesha (carried with this article, courtesy Deccan Chronicle), organized to facilitate Parameshwar on completing five years as KPCC chief, that both Parameshwar and Siddaramaiah attended speaks volumes about their uneasy relationship and proves that they are still not on the same page. At the event, the CM even tried to downplay Parameshwarâs role in resurrecting the fortune of the Congress ahead of the 2013 elections.
Even as the Congress party grapples with its near rout on a pan-India basis, it has not mended its ugly ways in the states where it rules. The saying that old habits die hard fits Congress to a T. But the problem is that since it is out of power at the Centre, the old trick of giving state heavyweights a post at the Centre or making them governors to remove them from the scene is no longer available to it. Hence, it can coax, cajole and even threaten potential mischief makers but in the end it has to accommodate them in the state set up only. This raises the discomfiture of the chief minister as he has to keep an eye on them in the cabinet. The development of the state suffers due to this. If this happens in Karnataka, the vibrancy that the state is famous for will go for a toss and the Congress will have hammered another nail in its coffin.