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  India   All India  28 May 2018  Karnataka portfolios face delay as Sonia, Rahul head for US

Karnataka portfolios face delay as Sonia, Rahul head for US

Published : May 28, 2018, 1:02 am IST
Updated : May 28, 2018, 4:39 am IST

The meeting is most likely to be held on June 4-5, sources said.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi (Photo: PTI)
 Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi (Photo: PTI)

Bengaluru/New Delhi: Five days after he was sworn in as Karnataka chief minister along with his deputy G. Parameshwar of the Congress, Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy is yet to get a full-fledged Cabinet. The process is now likely to drag on for another week due to differences over portfolio allocation, with both parties insisting on the finance portfolio, and the fact that Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia, UPA chairperson, are leaving Sunday night for the United States for Mrs Gandhi’s health checkup. With talks on Cabinet formation and portfolio allotment being held in New Delhi between the top leaders of the two coalition partners, JD(S) and Congress, any decision on this will be taken only after their return. The meeting is most likely to be held on June 4-5, sources said.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, former CM Siddaramaiah dropped enough hints that the portfolio allocation would be carried out only after Rahul Gandhi and Mrs Gandhi return from the US. “We could not discuss the matter of allocation of portfolios with the Congress president. Once he returns, we will discuss with him again. It may not take a week... maybe three-four days will be required,” he told reporters in Delhi.

“There are no grave differences between us (Congress) and the JD(S), but surely there are differences which we will  hammer out; then we will take the formal approval of Mrs Gandhi and Mr Gandhi once they return from the US,” he said.

Sources in the Congress said the two were at loggerheads over plum portfolios like finance, home, public works department, power, irrigation and urban development (Bengaluru development). The sources said the Congress was insisting on the finance portfolio, saying in previous coalition governments in the state in 2004-06 (JDS-Congress) and in 2006-07 (JDS-BJP), the portfolio had gone to those who held the deputy CM’s post.

In response to a question, Mr Siddaramaiah said the issue of whether the JD(S) should have a full five-year term of CM for itself or share it with the Congress on the basis of a 30:30 month formula, was still open for discussion. “Although we have not discussed this, we will take it up possibly in the next round of discussions,” he said, adding the party had not taken any final decision on who should be inducted into the Cabinet.

Chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who will travel to New Delhi on Monday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union ministers, said in Bengaluru on Sunday evening that he was at the “mercy” of the Congress as his party had not got a full mandate from the people of Karnataka. He reiterated a farm loan waiver was his priority as he had promised, and he would resign if he failed to fulfill it. However, he reminded people that the JD(S) did not get an absolute majority, which meant he and his party had been rejected by the electorate.

“The people of the state rejected me and our party. I had sought an absolute majority. I have heard the statements of farm leaders too and how much they supported me,” he said. “Mine is not an independent government. I had requested the people to give me a mandate that prevents me from succumbing to any pressure other than you. But today I am at the mercy of the Congress. I am not under the pressure of the 6.5 crore people of the state,” he added. His remarks came in the wake of the BJP’s call for a statewide bandh on Monday, demanding immediate waiver of farm loans, as promised by the JD(S) in their election manifesto.

On Saturday, the chief minister had admitted there were some “issues” over the allocation of portfolios with the coalition partner.

It is learnt that the Congress is firm on getting finance and the JD(S) is equally determined to keep the portfolio for itself, though it is flexible on other portfolios. Sources said the Congress is apprehensive about the future of some of their populist programmes, which had helped them overcome anti-incumbency in the polls, under a  finance minister of the JD(S) and feels it might affect their prospect in the 2019 parliamentary elections. Besides, to streamline fiscal discipline, the JD(S) might bring in certain reforms that may not be in the Congress’ best interests, the sources added.

Tags: hd kumaraswamy, rahul gandhi, g parameshwara
Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru