Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwara will take oath as the deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka on Wednesday, 23 May, in Bengaluru. His name was finalised in a meeting held between leaders of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday evening.
The meeting was attended by JD(S) state president and incumbent Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, KC Venugopal, Mallikarjun Kharge, HD Revanna, DK Shivakumar and others.
Venugopal, the party’s general secretary, told reporters in the state capital, “Congress president Rahul Gandhi has approved the name of Parameshwara as the deputy Chief Minister in the coalition government.”
Parameshwara, a former home minister in Siddaramaiah government from 2015 to 2017, is a prominent Dalit face. His name was already doing the rounds for the top job before the 15 May election verdict resulted in a blow to Congress’ aspirations.
Venugopal also reportedly said that the leaders of the two parties out of 34 cabinet berths, 22 will go to the Congress Party and 12 ministries, including CM, will be with JD(S). He added that the portfolio allocation will be decided after floor test.
Besides the deputy CM’s post, the Congress is also expected to secure the speaker’s post.
Parameshwara’s name was announced hours after a controversy erupted over the post of deputy CM. Media reports said that Lingayats, Veerashaivas, Vokkaligas and Muslim sections within the parties each have been demanding that the post should go to prominent faces representing them.
Among the two top names were those of 86-year-old Veerashaiva strongman Shamanur Shivashankarappa and seven-time Congress MLA Roshan Baig, a prominent Muslim face.
On Wednesday, JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy will take oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for a second time in his political career.
Kumaraswamy, whose party has just 37 seats, was propelled to the top job after the Congress hastily formed a post-poll alliance with his party following a fractured verdict in which the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats but well short of the majority mark of 113 in the 224-member assembly.
Kumaraswamy has since held a series of discussions with the Congress top brass to chalk out an agreement on portfolio allocation. He had on Monday visited Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi.
Both the UPA chairperson and Rahul Gandhi confirmed that they would attend the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy.
A day before his visit, Kumaraswamy had dismissed reports of a power-sharing formula of 30 months each between the parties.
“No such talks have taken place,” he said while also terming news of parleys with Congress leaders regarding elections in Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Jayanagar assembly constituencies as “bogus”.
“It is bogus news…No such discussions have taken place. Wining Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Jayanagara is a necessity,” he said.
According to some reports, the Congress and the JD(S) had agreed on heading the government for 30 months each just like the 20:20 power sharing agreement between the BJP and JD(S) in 2006.
Congress has 78 legislators, while JD(S) along with ally BSP has 38.