10 July 2019
Bengaluru: Veteran Congress legislator R. Ramalinga Reddy triggered the crisis for the barely year-old JD-S-Congress-coalition government in Karnataka by resigning his assembly seat and refusing to withdraw. The cause - discontent over denial of a ministerial berth.
An eight-time lawmaker from BTM Layout in the city's southern suburbs, the 66-year-old Reddy was Home and Transport Minister in the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government (2013-18).
In the 2018 Assembly polls, Reddy also ensured his daughter Sowmya Reddy's victory from the adjacent and high-profile Jayanagar segment for the first time.
Though Reddy got re-elected from the same constituency and helped the party win 14 of Bengaluru's 28 assembly seats against 3 by its then rival Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and 11 by the Bharatiya Janata Party, denial of a cabinet post in the coalition government had indeed "upset" him.
"While other senior and junior legislators were made cabinet ministers, Reddy was ignored despite building the party in the city, which the BJP has been dominating in the Lok Sabha elections over the last two decades," a political analyst told IANS here.
When Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy expanded the ministry on December 22, 2018, and the Congress filled its share of 22 berths, Reddy was again denied his due, which made him lash out at the party's state leaders, without naming any of them.
His dramatic resignation from the assembly, along with eight other party legislators on July 6 jolted the party, as he refused to withdraw it despite the Congress promising him even the Deputy Chief Minister's post as a reward for his seniority and contribution to the grand old party.
"I have not resigned from the party but from my constituency as I am unable to do justice to the people due to lack of development and funds to improve civic amenities," Reddy had told reporters when asked reasons for quitting.
Asserting that he never aspired or lobbied for a minister's post in the present or past governments, Reddy said he was "hurt" by the party's leadership neglecting him and other senior leaders like H.K. Patil despite contributing so much to it.
While Reddy stayed away from the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Tuesday, Sowmya attended a day after meeting UPA Chairperson and former party chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday.
According to sources, Sowmya, however, is also mulling to resign her assembly seat in protest against the way her father was treated by the party.
Refuting reports that he had resigned at the behest of the opposition BJP and would join it soon, Reddy said he would remain loyal to the Congress as he had been over the last four decades.