New Delhi, May 21: Karnataka Chief Minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy will meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today to discuss modalities of forming the Janata Dal (S)-Congress government in the state. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Congress chief G Parameshwara and D K Shivakumar will also hold talks with the central leadership on the nitty-gritty of government formation. Parameshwara on Sunday said there was a proposal to have two Deputy Chief Ministers from the Congress.
Congress, which won 78 seats in Karnataka Assembly elections, is likely to get 20 berths in the 33-member Karnataka cabinet. The JD(S), which has 37 MLAs after H D Kumaraswamy vacated his Ramanagara seat, will get the rest of the seats. Congress has reportedly decided to give the deputy CM post to G Parameshwara, who is from the Dalit community. However, there is a demand from Lingayats that a Deputy CM’s post should be given to a person from the community. Congress will try to fulfil the demand to erase the anti-Lingayat tag it had earned post-Siddaramaiah government’s efforts to give it a minority religion status.
“I will discuss with them (Rahul and Sonia) on the cabinet expansion. So far, I’m not sure about the Congress stand. We want to make sure the government is a stable one,” Kumaraswamy said ahead of his scheduled meeting the Congress top leadership. He also dismissed reports about his party working out a power-sharing formula of heading the government for 30 months each, with its coalition partner the Congress. “No such talks have taken place,” he told reporters. There were reports in a section of the media about both parties heading the government for 30 months each on rotation, similar to the 20:20 months power-sharing agreement in 2006 with the BJP.
While making it clear that there have been no discussions yet on the portfolio allocation, Kumaraswamy requested the media not to create confusion among the public and MLAs with such “speculative” reports. He also asserted that within 24 hours of taking an oath, he would prove the majority on the floor of the House. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B S Yeddyurappa had yesterday stepped down as the chief minister without facing the floor test in the state assembly as the BJP fell short of numbers, following which Kumaraswamy met Governor Vajubhai Vala, and said he had been invited to form the government.
The May 12 Karnataka assembly polls threw up a hung assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats. After meeting the governor, Kumaraswamy had said the swearing-in ceremony would take place tentatively between 12 noon and 1.50 pm at Kanteerava stadium on May 21. But, later he announced that the event would be held on May 23 as May 21 happens to be the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Kumaraswamy has invited Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
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, excluding the Speaker to prove a majority in the House.