The leaders are also not happy with JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda demanding 12 tickets to contest Lok Sabha polls.

Tension in Ktaka coalition Cong unhappy over JDS stalling appointments to board
news Politics Sunday, December 30, 2018 - 11:38

The coalition partners in Karnataka are once again feuding. Several senior leaders of the Congress were left angry after the cabinet expansion, which took place on December 22. These leaders were nominated as the various heads of government-run boards and corporations. However, things took an unexpected turn when Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy left for Singapore on Saturday unannounced.

The leaders, who were nominated as the heads of the boards and corporations, will now have to wait after New Year's Day to take charge - only because the CM has not signed off on their appointment papers. Amidst the high drama surrounding the cabinet expansion, the Congress and JD(S) cadre are also in a standoff in Mandya after Honnalagere Prakash, a JD(S) leader, was brutally hacked to death.

It’s not just this. The leaders of the Congress in the state are also unhappy about the JD(S) demanding 12 tickets of 28 to contest the Lok Sabha polls, resulting in major disagreements between the coalition partners. "If the JD(S) leaders continue to be impediments to every move made by the Congress, it will be difficult to continue (the coalition),” a Congress leader said. 

Tension brews over appointments to boards, corporations

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and several JD(S) leaders have also opposed the Congress party's move to name certain leaders as the chairpersons of certain boards. HD Kumaraswamy is opposed to the Congress choosing Chikkaballapura MLA K Sudhakar as the Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board.

Speaking to the media, JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda clarified that Sudhakar's nomination was being opposed on technical grounds. “He does not have the expertise to head the pollution control board. That is the reason why the CM is considering his nomination,” Deve Gowda said.

However, sources in the Congress say that it is not only K Sudhakar's nominations that JD(S) leaders are opposing. “They don't want Lakshmi Hebbalkar becoming the head of Mysore Minerals. They have been apprehensive about Congress leaders from South Karnataka representing some of the top boards and corporations because this would mean that the JD(S) will be answerable to their cadre. The JD(S) and Congress party workers still consider themselves as rivals,” a Congress source said. 

In addition to the internal feud, the Congress leaders, who were nominated for posts of directors and chairpersons, will now have to wait till the JD(S) decides to go ahead with its appointments.

JD(S) insiders say that HD Revanna has vehemently opposed any appointments until an auspicious day is set. “Although Kumaraswamy is the CM, HD Revanna is the one in the JD(S) who looks into transfers and appointments. He says that until Shunya masa (zero month in the Hindu lunar calendar) is not over, no decisions will be taken in the matter,” the JD(S) source added. 

A new face for Lok Sabha polls? 

On Saturday evening, HD Deve Gowda announced that he would be vacating the Hassan Lok Sabha segment for his grandson Prajwal Revanna. HD Deve Gowda also said that the JD(S) would want to contest in 12 out of 28 Lok Sabha segments, thereby implying that the Congress must give up these segments to the JD(S).

A Congress source said, “Deve Gowda wants the JD(S) to contest from the Old Mysore region. This is being opposed by the Congress leaders in the state simply because the Congress will have to fend for itself in North Karnataka as the JD(S) has no presence there. If the Congress gives up certain key constituencies in the South, there are chances that the JD(S) will not win the required votes.” 

Sources in the JD(S) also said that Deve Gowda's announcement of Prajwal contesting the Hassan seat has not gone well with several leaders within the party as well as the Congress leaders.

“Whether Prajwal will contest or not will be decided by the party members and coalition leaders. The Congress will not risk putting up a new face in a crucial election. Besides, there is speculation that Deve Gowda's announcement was only meant to pacify his disgruntled grandson, who has been bad-mouthing Deve Gowda for a while,” the source added.

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