Bengaluru, May 23: Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday took oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka, while Congress state president G Parameshwara was sworn in as his deputy. Both the leaders took oath in Kannada in the name of god, farmers and the people of Karnataka. The swearing-in ceremony served as a giant display of opposition unity ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress (78) and the JD(S) (36) forged a post-poll alliance to keep the BJP at bay. A galaxy of national and regional leaders and Chief Ministers of some non-BJP states from across the country arrived to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Among the prominent political leaders present on the huge dais were Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda, BSP supremo Mayawati, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, expelled Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav and Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Mayawati and Akhilesh, who had formed an alliance during by-polls in Uttar Pradesh, were seen sitting next to each other. RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav was seen chatting with Yechury during the event. Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), N Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) and Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) were also present at the 10-minute swearing-in ceremony.
The alliance of Congress and the JD(S) has brought together other political parties in support of the non-BJP government. The ceremony also saw a reluctant union of rival parties in West Bengal as TMC chief Banerjee was seen sharing the stage with Yechury. Speaking to ANI earlier, Yechury welcomed the move “that stopped the BJP from forming a government.”
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.