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Cong-JD(S) Tussle Continues, Kumaraswamy Still Without a Cabinet

With 78 MLAs, the Congress feels that it needs more cabinet berths compared to the JD(S) which has just 37 seats.

Updated
Politics
3 min read
File photo of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Image used for representational purposes only.
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After high drama surrounding the elections in Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Six days after he took oath, Kumaraswamy still does not have a cabinet.

Kumaraswamy and Deputy CM from Congress, G Parameshwara, are the only members of the cabinet, as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) are still not able to sort out differences on who should bag the plum ministerial berths.

Highly placed sources in the Congress confirmed that the JD(S) is likely to concede the Finance Ministry.

“AICC Chief Rahul Gandhi was adamant that the Congress keep the Finance portfolio. That is because there are apprehensions on whether the JD(S) will comply with the policy decisions. Dr G Parameshwara, who is the Deputy CM, is likely to be handling this portfolio as well but that is not final,” the source said.

A senior JD(S) leader said that the Congress is also set on bagging some of the most important ministries. With 78 MLAs, the party feels it needs more cabinet berths compared to the JD(S) which has just 37 seats. Party insiders say that the Congress does not want to discuss any other post unless the issue regarding the Finance Ministry is ironed out.

The Congress is getting 22 berths and the JD(S) will get 12. But the most important thing is that the Congress wants the important revenue generating portfolios to compensate for the fact that the chief minister is not a Congressman.
A senior JD(S) leader to TNM

Insiders in the Congress told TNM that the party is willing to concede the Industries and Revenue portfolios to the JD(S) but wants to retain the Energy, Social Welfare, Rural Development, Bengaluru Development, Housing, Tourism, Health, Mining, Excise, Home and Sugar ministries for itself.

“They have more MLAs than JD(S). Even if the JD(S) chiefs want to withdraw from the coalition and go with the BJP it would be humiliating for the party, especially after the barbs exchanged by Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa on the day of the floor test. There is high chance that even those voters who trust the party would be lost to us. Although the only good portfolios offered by the Congress are PWD and Industries, it is not sufficient. Kumaraswamy has no choice but listen to the Congress,” the JD(S) source said.

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On Monday, HD Kumaraswamy was in New Delhi to chalk out plans with Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been put in charge of discussing the issue of portfolio sharing.

JD(S) sources said that the disagreement between the two parties regarding the issue of ministerial positions will be resolved by the end of Tuesday.

A similar incident had happened in 2004, when the Congress and JD(S) had formed an alliance, the two parties had fought over the ministerial positions. Ultimately, the posts were divided almost equally as the JD(S), back then had 57 seats.

A few days ago, the two parties also faced similar difficulties when the Congress proposed having two deputy CMs. Sources in the JD(S) said that Kumaraswamy was dead set against the appointment of two Deputy CMs and also got his way.

“DK Shivakumar was supposed to get the second Deputy CM post but the JD(S) knew that if someone as powerful as DK Shivakumar held the post, not only would the caste equations be disturbed but Kumaraswamy would be completely at the mercy of the Congress. Now that the Congress conceded to his demand and appointed only one Deputy CM, the JD(S) has to concede the important portfolios,” the source added.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)

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