New Delhi, May 21: Karnataka Chief Minister-designate HD Kumaraswamy on Monday said that modalities of government formation were finalised with the Congress during a meeting with its president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Talking to reporters after his meeting with the Gandhi’s in the national capital, he said that Congress General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge KC Venugopal is travelling with him to the state “to discuss all matters and finalise everything” before his swearing-in as the chief minister on Wednesday.
“Local leaders and he (Venugopal) will sit together tomorrow to finalise things on the matter of appointment of Deputy Chief Minister,” the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader said, amid demands from the Congress for two deputy chief ministers in the Karnataka cabinet. (Also Read: I Was Constantly in Touch With Those Missing MLAs: Cong Leader DK Shivakumar)
He further said that he had come to meet the Congress president and his mother to show his respect and regards towards the Gandhi family. Adding further he said that he has requested the Gandhis to attend the swearing in ceremony. “I requested them to attend the oath-taking ceremony. Both agreed,” he said.
Meanwhile, JD-S general secretary Danish Ali, who accompanied Kumaraswamy on his day-long trip to Delhi, said the alliance between the two parties was a long-term decision. “We (JD-S) have decided to go together with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019,” he said. (ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Will Attend Oath-Taking Ceremony: HD Kumaraswamy)
Earlier in the day, BJP president Amit Shah had dubbed the alliance of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular in Karnataka as “unholy” and said that there was nothing wrong in his party forming the new state government since it was the single-largest one after the polls.
“We were the single-largest party and we were invited to form the government. There was nothing unethical,” Shah said at a press conference.
Hitting out at the Congress for “preaching on democracy”, Shah reminded how it formed the government in Goa in 1980 despite failing to win a single seat in the Assembly elections. “I will give you a good example. You can even ask Rahul Gandhi. Probably, he has not read the history of the Congress. You can even teach him about it. The Congress contested the Goa elections and could not even win a single seat,” he said.
Reacting on this, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah doesn’t have knowledge or respect for the Constitution.
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 their 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.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B S Yeddyurappa had 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.
Karnataka assembly polls threw up a hung assembly, with the BJP emerging 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, excluding the Speaker to prove a majority in the House.