New Delhi: Tension over portfolio allocation in Karnataka government refuses to die down as now Congress President Rahul Gandhi is headed abroad along with mother Sonia Gandhi and has put the entire process on hold for the time being. CM Kumaraswamy, on the other hand, shot back saying he is at the mercy of Congress because the people of Karnataka failed to give him the mandate he had sought.
Meanwhile, former CM Siddaramaiah clarified that the matter will be finalised within three to four days. The meeting to decide on the portfolio allocation has been postponed for a week as the Gandhis will be away for Sonia’s health check-up.
Rahul wrote on Twitter on Sunday night, “Will be out of India for a few days, accompanying Sonia ji to her annual medical check up. To my friends in the BJP social media troll army: don’t get too worked up…I’ll be back soon!”
Ahead of his Delhi visit to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other union ministers, Kumaraswamy said that 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 JD(S) did not get an absolute majority, which meant he and his party were 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,” Kumaraswamy said.
Ever since BS Yeddyurappa resigned as the chief minister and JD(S)-Congress staked claim to form the government in Karnataka, the two new allies have been at loggerheads over the allocation of key portfolios such as Finance, Home, Public Works Department (PWD) and Power, Irrigation and Urban Development.
While the Congress is waiting for the JD(S) to come out with its list of portfolios, CM Kumaraswamy on Saturday admitted that there were some issues regarding berth allocation. Rahul Gandhi, too, met the Karnataka leaders on Saturday but the meeting remained inconclusive.
Siddaramaiah, Parameshwar, senior leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge and D K Shivakumar and state party in-charge K C Venugopal were present in the meeting.
“We could not discuss the matter of allocation of portfolios with Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Once he returns, we will discuss with him again. It will not take a week… Maybe three-four days will be required,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Delhi.
On May 23, Kumaraswamy and G Parameshwara of the Congress took oath and chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively.
In addition, it has already been decided that Congress would have 21 ministers and JD(S) 11 in the new council of ministers.
According to PTI, the Congress has demanded finance as in the previous coalition government in the state in 2004-06 (JDS-Congress) as well as in 2006-08 (JDS-BJP), the portfolio had gone to those who held the deputy chief minister’s post.
Meanwhile, many MLAs aspiring for a cabinet berth are camping in New Delhi with their supporters. Hirekerur MLA B C Patil, one such berth aspirant, told reporters there it was in the interest of the party and the administration to make him a minister.
Patil is in Delhi along with former speaker K B Koliwad, former ministers Shivanna, Rudrappa, Manohar Tahsildar, former MLA Khadri and Srinivas Mane.
He said he had met Congress general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal.
“We requested them and they (Congress high command) have assured us they will consider it. We will be meeting Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and former chief minister Siddaramaiah,” Patil added.