In an unusual turn of events, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy - who belongs to the JD(S) - is set to attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on December 8.
CM Kumaraswamy will attend the meeting to address grievances of Congress legislators directly. "The Chief Minister has expressed his interest to take part in the CLP meeting to directly speak to Congress legislators and address any complaints they may be raising regarding the functioning of the coalition government," an official in the CM's Office told TNM.
Sources in the Congress party confirmed to TNM that CLP chief and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) invited CM Kumaraswamy to the meeting.
It is highly unusual for the party to invite a non-member into the CLP meeting. A senior Congress leader and a former minister said, "We (Congress and JD(S)) are together now anyway. It was only yesterday, we got a message from Siddaramaiah that it has been decided in consultation with the KPCC president, that the CM will attend as there is some dissatisfaction with relation to the functioning of the government and lack of attention with relation to work in their respective areas."
Congress MLAs have made a series of complaints against CM Kumaraswamy ever since his tenure began in May. The discord in the Congress party came to the fore when Ramesh Jarkiholi and Satish Jarkiholi, MLAs from Belagavi reportedly demanded higher posts for themselves in September. The MLAs are also unhappy at their requests for transfer of officials being turned down by the government. Few MLAs are also pressing for ministerial berths in the government.
The litany of complaints made by Congress leaders have at times ruffled feathers in the Kumaraswamy government. The CM has also previously admitted that the pressures of managing a coalition government was straining him.
The meeting comes two days before the Legislative Assembly meets for the winter session in Belagavi on December 10. The BJP has already revealed that the party is planning a protest alongside farmers on the day.
Congress legislators are hoping to clear their differences with the CM and put up a united front at the Assembly even as the BJP plans to corner the government over the plight of sugarcane farmers in the state. The demand of sugarcane farmers to clear their loans and arrears due from sugar factories is expected to be a big part of BJP's agenda in the Assembly.