Bengaluru, May 23: H D Kumaraswamy, son of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, will take oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka today to lead the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in the state. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief G Parameshwara, who is from the Dalit community, will be sworn in as Kumaraswamy’s deputy. There was no word either from the Congress or the JD(S) whether there would be a second deputy for Kumaraswamy.
A meeting of Congress and JD(S) leaders took place on Tuesday in which decisions regarding the distribution of the ministries and other portfolios were taken. “Out of 34 ministries, 22 will go with the Congress party, and 12 including the Chief Minister are with the JD(S),” Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal told reporters after the meeting. “Speaker of the Legislative Assembly will be from the Congress and Deputy Speaker will be from the JD(S),” he added.
The Congress has named Ramesh Kumar for the post of Speaker, while the JD(S) is yet to name its candidate for Deputy Speaker’s post. “Rest of the ministry and portfolio allocation will be decided after the floor test,” Venugopal said. After the meeting, Kumaraswamy clarified that there were no differences between the two parties. The crucial meeting was held a day after Kumaraswamy met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi in the national capital.
Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao met Kumaraswamy and extended his greetings. “Tomorrow, I have a Collector’s conference in Hyderabad, so I will not be able to attend the swearing-in. I thought I should meet Kumaraswamy and extend my good wishes. God bless and Good luck to Mr Kumaraswamy and good luck to Karnataka,” Rao told reporters after the meeting.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin also cancelled his attendance to the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy as he will be meeting those involved in the protest against Sterlite industries in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, however, said he would attend the swearing-in ceremony. “I will go to Bengaluru and speak to leaders of all regional parties to muster support for securing special category status for AP,” Naidu said.
Several national leaders including United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony. Chief Ministers of non-BJP states and heads of regional parties like Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Kollywood superstar Kamal Haasan of Makkal Needhi Maiam party in Tamil Nadu will also be in attendance.
Though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress and the JD(S) forged a post-poll alliance to keep the BJP at bay. The JD-S (36) and Congress (78) alliance has 117 members in the House. In the 224-member Assembly, which currently has 222 members, Kumaraswamy has 6 more than the required 111 halfway mark.
Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala invited Kumaraswamy on Saturday to form the coalition government after the fall of the three-day BJP government as its Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa resigned before the trust vote as his party fell seven short of the 111-halfway mark majority in a hung house.