Bengaluru, May 22: Karnataka Congress chief G Parameshwara will take oath as H D Kumaraswamy’s deputy when the Janata Dal (Secular) chief is sworn in as the state’s second chief minister in a week tomorrow. Under a formula agreed upon by the Congress and the JD(S), besides 22 ministerial berths, the Congress would also have its senior leader KR Ramesh Kumar as the speaker of the state assembly. The JD(S) would have 12 minsters in the 34-member Kumaraswamy’s cabinet.
“Congress and JD(S) leaders met and discussed the cabinet formation today. Out of 34 ministries, 22 ministries will go with Congress and 12 ministries, including the post of Chief Minister, will be with JD(S). Portfolio allocation to be decided after floor test,” Congress General Secretary and Karnataka In-charge KC Venugopal said. Parameshwara will be the first Dalit Deputy Chief Minister in Karnataka. No Dalit leader could make it to the post of Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister in the state in last six decades.
Even though Congress has mooted the idea of two deputy chief ministers for the numerically strong party in order to strike a balance with the JD(S), the regional party is believed to be not in favour of this proposal, reported PTI. However, Chief Minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy clarified that there were no differences between Congress and JD(S) over portfolio distribution. “Speaker & deputy speaker would be elected on 25 May. Portfolios would be decided day after tomorrow. Everything is alright, no differences,” Kumaraswamy told news agency ANI.
Earlier in the day, top leaders from the two parties, including former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, K C Venugopal, Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge, the elder son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, HD Revanna, and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar chaired a meeting to discuss the portfolio sharing, but later decided to talk about it a day after Kumaraswamy’s oath-taking ceremony.
In Karnataka Assembly elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats. The JD-S (36) and Congress (78) alliance has 117 members in the House. With the support of three others, Kumaraswamy has 6 more than the required 111 halfway mark. On Saturday, Kumaraswamy was invited by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala to form the government, after Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) B S Yeddyurappa stepped down ahead of the floor test.