Kumaraswamy set to become CM again

Kumaraswamy set to become CM again

Guv invites JD(S)-Cong combine of swearing-in on Wednesday; Yeddyurappa quits before floor test

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy will take oath as chief minister on Wednesday with the backing of the Congress, opening a new chapter in coalition politics in Karnataka.

This will be 58-year old Kumaraswamy’s second stint as chief minister, the earlier one had lasted 20 months with the support of the BJP in 2006. He will prove his majority on the floor of the House on Thursday.

The stage for the formation of a JD(S)-Congress coalition government was cleared with the incumbent chief minister, B S Yeddyurappa, choosing to resign instead of facing the trust vote in the Legislative Assembly on Saturday.

The newly formed alliance has claimed the support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member House with an effective strength of 221. The BJP, which emerged the single largest party in the May 12 Assembly polls with 104 seats, will now have to sit in the opposition. The party failed to secure the support of seven MLAs to cross the 111 mark required to form the government.

Kumaraswamy, who met Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan on Saturday evening, said he had been formally invited to form the government. He will take oath at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. A massive crowd is expected to be present in the oath-taking ceremony, he added.

He wanted to take oath on Monday, but changed the plan following a request from the Congress as the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi falls that day. Kumaraswamy also said the Governor has given him 15 days to prove majority. “But I will not need that many days.” The trust vote will be taken on Thursday and the speaker’s election will be held the same day.

On Monday, Kumaraswamy is likely to meet UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and formally invite them to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Kumaraswamy said the modalities of power-sharing would be worked out in a day. He, along with his brother 
H D Revanna, started holding discussions with a Congress delegation led by Ghulam Nabi Azad and state Congress chief G Parameshwara, former chief minister Siddaramaiah among others on sharing power.

Kumaraswamy’s father and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda is slated to play a major role in the government formation. According sources, the Congress, being the majority party in the alliance with 78 seats, has sought 20 ministerial  berths, with the remaining 13 berths going to the JD(S).

50:50 govt

The Congress is learnt to have also sought that the JD(S) allow the party to head the government after two-and-a-half years. Gowda had earlier told the Congress that Kumaraswamy should be allowed to be the chief minister for the full five-year term. The Congress insiders said that party will drive a hard bargain on the sharing of power.

A coordination committee with members from both the JD(S) and the Congress will be constituted. Kumaraswamy alleged that the BJP will indulge in horse-trading and try its best to topple the coalition government. “But we know how to tackle them,” he added.

Kumaraswamy said all the newly elected Congress and JD(S) would stay together in Bengaluru until the floor test is taken. In other words, they will be held “captive” for another five days.

Ever since the results were out, both the JD(S) and the Congress have been charging the BJP with trying to poach its elected members and had ferried them to a resort in Hyderabad. They returned to Bengaluru in the early hours of Saturday just hours before the floor test.

Several regional leaders including chief ministers Mamta Banerjee, N Chandrababu Naidu, K Chandrashekar Rao, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav have been invited for the swearing-in event.