Karnataka Congress for ending debate on ‘migrant’ members

Bangalore, May 22 (IANS) Since Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is viewed in a section of the Congress as a “migrant” because he moved over from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in 2006, the state party Wednesday sought to end the insider-outsider debate.

“Once someone joins the Congress, there is no discrimination on the basis of ‘mirgant’ and ‘original’ Congress members,” Karnataka Congress unit president G. Parameshwara told reporters here.

“All Congress members are equal,” he asserted, responding to questions on Siddaramaiah and several members of his ministry being dubbed as ‘migrants’ by a section of the party as they had joined the Congress or returned to it after being members of other parties.

Siddaramaiah, 64, has spent most of his political career from 1983 to 2006 in many factions of the Janata Dal.

He took over as chief minister May 13. His selection was made easy as Parameshwara, a strong contender, was defeated in the assembly polls held May 5 in which the Congress wrested power from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Parameshwara Wednesday laid down guidelines for the Congress ministers to strengthen the party in the state.

He said one minister should visit the party office in Bangalore to meet party workers and receive their petitions/letters. A timetable on which minister should visit the office, which day and time would be announced soon.

Parameshwara said ministers during visit to districts – the state has 30 districts – should visit the party office and meet the workers.

Each minister should also send monthly report on the functioning of their ministries to the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, which in turn would forward it to the All India Congress Committee.

Parameshwara said that five vacancies in the state ministry would be filled soon by Siddaramaiah in consultation with the party chief.

Siddaramaiah has inducted 28 ministers. The Karnataka ministry can be 34-strong, including the chief minister, as per the constitutional arrangement.

Parameshwara said he and the chief minister would soon decide on the number of legislators and workers who should be made heads of various boards and corporations. Many of these posts are equivalent to a junior minister’s rank and carry perks and privileges.

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