BENGALURU: When H D Kumaraswamy takes oath as Chief Minister as the head of a JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka on Wednesday, state Congress president G Parameshwara will be sworn in as his deputy. On the eve of the swearing-in ceremony, which is turning out to be a platform for show of unity by non-BJP parties, the coalition partners worked out the power-sharing formula that gives the Congress 22 ministerial berths, including the Deputy Chief Minister’s post, along with the Speaker’s chair. The JD(S) will be allowed to nominate the deputy speaker and hold 12 out of the 34 cabinet berths, including the Chief Minister’s post. The Congress announced that senior leader Ramesh Kumar will be its nominee for the Speaker’s post.
Leaders of both parties, after a meeting at a hotel in Bengaluru, told the media that the names of other ministers, their portfolios and the nature of the coordination committee that is being planned will be decided after the vote of confidence, likely to take place on Thursday. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi has approved Parameshwara’s name for Deputy Chief Minister post and Ramesh Kumar’s name for Speaker,” AICC general secretary K C Venugopal told TNIE.
With the division of cabinet berths, it is now up to each party to decide their nominees in the ministry. While the possibility of having two Deputy Chief Ministers was considered, only the name of Parameshwara was cleared as of now. The decision on power-sharing formula comes after days of hectic internal lobbying by legislators and haggling by leaders of communities.
With the CM-designate Kumaraswamy going on a temple-hopping spree for four days now apart from a quick visit to New Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, many decisions were kept on hold till Tuesday’s meeting, which was attended by Mallikarjun Kharge, Venugopal, Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara and D K Shivakumar from the Congress and Kumaraswamy and brother H D Revanna from the JD(S). The meeting was held after Kumaraswamy returned from his visit to Dharmasthala and Sringeri temples.
Following reports of dissent and strong demands being made by both parties, JD(S) supremo
H D Deve Gowda on Tuesday categorically denied any role in the decision-making.
While Congress leaders like Shivakumar and Kharge sought more cabinet berths for the Congress, citing the numerical strength — 78 MLAs as against JD(S)’ 38 — the JD(S) had kept mum about the same.
“On Wednesday only CM and Deputy CM will take the oath. A decision on portfolios and coordination committee will be taken on May 25,” Kumaraswamy said. The JD(S) is yet to announce its nominee for the Deputy Speaker post. Legislators of the Congress and the JD(S), meanwhile, continue their stay at luxury hotels in Bengaluru.
The BJP will stay away from the swearing-in ceremony of CM-designate H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday, and instead observe the day as “anti-people’s mandate day”. Senior Congress leaders, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and many regional leaders, including CMs of non-BJP ruled states, are attending the ceremony. No BJP leader will attend the swearing-in ceremony and they will take part in the protest, said senior BJP leader C T Ravi.
Senior BJP leaders, including its state president B S Yeddyurappa, Shobha Karandlaje, N Ravikumar, party MPs and leaders will participate in a protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Gandhi Nagar. Protest demonstrations will be held at all district headquarters in the state.