Congress to get Speaker’s post

JD(S) leader and chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy presents a bouquet to Congress president Rahul Gandhi during a meeting in New Delhi on Monday. PTI

The Congress and the JD(S) on Monday moved a step ahead in resolving differences over power-sharing, with chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy agreeing to leave the crucial Speaker’s post for the Grand Old Party.

The issue of the Speaker’s post was discussed during Kumaraswamy’s meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The meeting with the Gandhis — that took place at Rahul’s 12, Tughlaq Road residence — was cordial, with Kumaraswamy touching Sonia’s feet as a gesture of gratitude for supporting the JD(S).

Though the leaders did not go into the nitty-gritty of government formation, Rahul asked Kumaraswamy to leave the post of the Speaker for the Congress. Kumaraswamy gave his consent.

“The Speaker will be from the Congress,” AICC general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal told DH after the meeting.

According to media reports, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda was insistent on having a JD(S) leader in the Speaker’s post, contending that it was necessary for the smooth functioning of the coalition government.

The Gandhis also conveyed to Kumaraswamy to let bygones be bygones and that the Congress was keen to have a “forward-looking” and “long-term relationship” with the JD(S). The Congress and the JD(S) had carried out a bitter campaign, with Rahul describing the regional outfit as the ‘B-Team’ of the BJP.

“We have not discussed any future course of action. I wanted to show my respect and regards to the Gandhi family. I requested their presence at the oath-taking ceremony,” Kumaraswamy told reporters after meeting the Gandhis.

The Congress announced that both Rahul and Sonia would be attending the oath-taking ceremony.

“Rahul ji cleared the modalities to be done, he has given permission to AICC general secretary K C Venugopal to discuss all those matters and to finalise everything. Local leaders and he will sit together tomorrow (Tuesday) to finalise things,” Kumaraswamy said.

In a whirlwind visit to the national capital, Kumaraswamy also met BSP supremo Mayawati and made a phone call to CPM general secretary to invite them for the oath-taking ceremony. Both the leaders have agreed to attend.

The swearing-in ceremony is all set to be a show of strength by the opposition as leaders from 22 states are expected to be present. Five Chief Ministers – Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), N Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana) and Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi) are expected to attend the grand event. Kamal Haasan is also expected to the function.

Earlier in the afternoon, senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and Venugopal had a long meeting with the Congress president and briefed him about the situation in Karnataka.

HDK tells workers not to put up banners

Chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy requested his party workers and supporters not to put up flexes, banners and cut-outs, and also refrain from bursting crackers during his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.

“I request you not to put up banners, cut-outs and buntings, and burst crackers, which is harmful to the environment. It is my wish that the party workers do not do these things,” Kumaraswamy appealed to his supporters through a message, which is widely circulated on WhatsApp and social media.

“I know that my party workers will fight for environmental issues. I am confident our party members will save the environment by following my message,” he further said in his message.

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Congress to get Speaker’s post

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