“Is north Karnataka not part of this state? How is development in our region possible if all positions go to the South," an agitated MB Patil had asked ET two days ago.
And this dissent by the former Water Resources Minister and prominent Lingayat face of the Siddaramaiah government, may ultimately reap him dividends.
A week after 25 MLAs of the JD(S)-Congress combine took oath as ministers, Patil is likely to be given an important ministry in the coming days.
The five-time MLA and second generation politician was visibly disappointed when he was left with no portfolio. Initially, he was touted to become the second Deputy Chief Minister for the state.
In fact, he chaired meetings of dissenting MLAs who had missed out on ministerial positions at his residence.
However, in the recent interview, he reiterated his demand for a second Deputy CM and that too someone from north Karnataka. After a meeting with Rahul Gandhi in Delhi, Patil claimed he was hopeful and that 'things will be set right'.
Notably, Patil had flown on June 8 to New Delhi to meet the party High Command after refusing to meet the state leaders.
His chance of retaining the Water Resources Ministry seems to be improbable with DK Shivakumar having been given the ministry already.
The buzz of Patil making it to the cabinet was anyway always in the realm of possibility as HD Kumaraswamy had left seven ministerial berths vacant. These posts were left unoccupied to contain the rift within the two parties.
With Patil’s inclusion, the Congress has the advantage of not only adding another Lingayat in the cabinet but also an MLA from north Karnataka. There has been a chorus around Lingayats and MLAs from north Karnataka missing out on cabinet berths.
In fact, Lingayat leader Mathe Mahadevi on Wednesday had said, “Never have I made political statements, but today, I must say that M B Patil was at the forefront of the Lingayat religion movement. Him being denied a Cabinet position because of that is an insult to the entire community.”
In the current list, only two Lingayat MLAs from the Congress have been made ministers.
Another prominent name who could be included in the cabinet expansion is Satish Jarkiholi. A prominent ST face from north Karnataka, he had recently tendered his resignation from the AICC Secretary post for not being named as a minister.