JD(S) eyes Council chief post, but Congress won’t give in

BENGALURU: The election of the Legislative Council chairman is likely to lead to a jousting bout between JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah as Congress is no mood to yield ground to its coalition partner in the Upper House.

With incumbent chairman D H Shankarmurthy’s tenure ending on Thursday, the JD(S), with 14 members in the 75-member Council, is demanding the chairman’s post from Congress which has 35 members. BJP, which is the single largest party in the Assembly, has 19 members, while three are independents and four are yet to be filled.

“There is no question of giving the chairman’s post to JD(S),” a senior Congress leader told The New Indian Express. “How can the party, with 35 members, give it to JD(S) which has only 14 members? The Deputy Chairman will be from JD(S) and Chairman from Congress,” he asserted.The JD(S) camp too is adamant. “The Assembly Speaker’s post was given to Congress, so the Council chairman’s post has to be given to JD (S). Basavaraj Horatti is likely to be the next chairman,” said a JD (S) leader.

On Thursday, Horatti met Deve Gowda and discussed the Council chairman’s election. Horatti then took over as an interim chairman. The new chairman will be elected during the budget session in July.While Gowda may try to pacify Horatti, a Lingayat leader from north Karnataka who was not made a minister, Siddaramaiah is said to be keen to see that his loyalist S R Patil is elected chairman.

With both JD (S) and Congress keen on clinching the post, it may lead to a tug-of-war between the two parties if the Congress high command decides to back Siddaramaiah. “Though JD(S) leaders are contacting the high command, even bypassing the coordination committee, it is likely to stand with the former CM,” said a Congress leader.

KPCC president and DyCM G Parameshwara, working president Dinesh Gundu Rao, Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar, Coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah are all from South Karnataka while former ministers H K Patil, M B Patil and S R Patil from North Karnataka have not been included in the ministry.H K Patil and M B Patil are hopeful of making it to the ministry.

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