Bengaluru: The Congress and Janata Dall Secular will fight the 2019 general elections together as a pre-poll alliance, Congress leader KC Venugopal announced on Friday as the two parties reached an agreement on Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s cabinet after days of negotiation. The crucial finance ministry has gone to the regional party and the home department and the Bengaluru city development to the Congress.
The two partners have also formed a coalition coordination and monitoring committee that has to meet at least once every month and will, apart from smoothing the rough edges of running the government together, clear every appointment to statutory boards and organisations.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will chair this coordination committee; Danish Ali of the JDS will be its convenor.
The alliance will also come up with a common agenda for governance based on the manifestos of the two partners.
Mr Venugopal told that the two parties had decided to join hands because they had secured more than 50 per cent votes.
The coalition partners had been locked in endless negotiations in Bengaluru and New Delhi over who would get the plum portfolios. The finance ministry was believed to have been the sticking point but the Congress decided to give the portfolio to its partner on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s direction who intervened.
But Chief Minister Kumaraswamy will have to wait for a bit before he can get his team. Governor Vajubhai Vala told the chief minister that he could swear in the new council of ministers only on Wednesday due to his engagements.
“Rahul Gandhi was so helpful all along…very involved …even this morning he spoke to HD Deve Gowda,” JDS leader Danish Ali told after the pre-poll alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha was announced.
Karnataka sends 28 members to the Lok Sabha where the Congress and the JDS, who fought separately in 2014, have just nine members, eight of them from the Congress. JDS leaders say their combined vote share of 56 per cent in the just-concluded assembly elections was an indicator of the potential that the alliance had.
Friday’s announcement suggests the two sides had attempted to work out the distribution of powers in great detail to ensure that the last-minute coalition does not fall apart.
For example, the two partners who face the uphill task of keeping their flock together, have agreed to share the frills of power – posts in statutory bodies – in proportion of their strength. The Congress will get to nominate is nominees in two-third of these bodies; the JDS gets the remaining one-third. The decision to run every such appointment past the coordination committee will ensure that if either partner has a concern about the other’s nominees, it can share its views.
The Congress, which has kept home department and police for itself, has ceded the intelligence department to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
At Friday’s briefing, the two parties said they had agreed on the 12 portfolios that will go to the JDS and another 22 that will accrue to the Congress.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy will decide the remaining portfolios in consultation with his deputy, the Congress’s G Parameshwara.
It is still not known which individuals will get which portfolio
“I don’t know what I will get,” senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar told. Mr Venugopal said this was something that will decided internally by the two parties.