Congress, JD(S) in tug-of-war over finance, irrigation

Congress, JD(S) in tug-of-war over finance, irrigation

A meeting of Congress leaders on finalising names from their party for ministerial berths in the Kumaraswamy government on Saturday remained inconclusive as the Congress and the JD(S) failed to arrive at a conclusion on sharing portfolios.

While JD(S) is demanding the finance, irrigation, public works department and energy, the Congress too is keen on finance and irrigation, sources in the Congress said.

Though the JD(S) agreed to give up the home department, the grand old party wants the regional party to sacrifice PWD, irrigation and energy departments, if the Congress has to let go of finance for the JD(S). 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who chaired a two-hour meeting with state leaders, has summoned them again for deliberations on Sunday morning. The issue of whether Kumaraswamy will remain the chief minister for five years or two-and-a-half years was not discussed, sources said.

K C Venugopal, Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader D K Shivakumar attended the meeting. 

Though the Congress got 22 berths, including deputy chief minister, the party is likely to make Ranebennur independent MLA Shankar a minister. Of the remaining 20 berths, the party may fill only 17 or 18 berths to quell possible dissidence, sources said.

To maintain regional and caste balance, the Congress will discuss with the JD(S) on allocation of district incharge ministers, sources said.