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K’taka rudderless with bickering over portfolios

A coalition which was stitched in haste, to outwit the BJP, is now busy fighting over portfolios.

Statesman News Service | Bengaluru |

Its nearly a week since the JDS-Congress coalition under H D Kumaraswamy was sworn in. And yet barring the two posts of chief minister and deputy chief minister, the combine has not been able to form its council of ministers.

A coalition which was stitched in haste, to outwit the BJP, is now busy fighting over portfolios even with the- Congress accepting the JDS offering for Kumaraswamy to be the chief minister.

In their eagerness to grab power, the father(former Prime Minister and JDS leader)–son duo failed to push the Congress to sort out the coalition arrangement.

Today, that failure is proving costly with Mr Kumaraswamy, in particular, becoming the laughing stock of the nation, especially with his statement that “ I am at the mercy of the Congress party.”

The reference is obviously to the bitter fights the two parties are having over allocation of portfolios and his own inability to be firm with the senior partner.

As the major partner, the Congress wants the all-important ministry of finance, followed by the public works department. The JDS, on its part, wants to keep the two ministries.

Besides, the Congress is keen to get hold of the Home Ministry as well. Here again the issue appears to be too difficult to sort out, going by the present imbroglio.

In the process, leaders of the two parties, including the chief minister and the deputy chief minister, are spending more time in New Delhi for discussions with Congress leaders than on governing the state.

The uncertainty over ministry formation is affecting government work which has virtually come to a halt. According to the arrangement that has been worked out by the two coalition partners, out of a total of 34 berths, the Congress would account for 22 with the balance going to the JDS.

Under the circumstances, as the coalition has not been able to decide as to who will man the other 32 ministries, the responsibility of sharing the total workload of several ministries and departments, falls on the chief minister and his deputy.