HD Kumaraswamy, who will take oath as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka on Wednesday, met former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi on Monday evening. Congress leader KC Venugopal and JD(S)’ Danish Ali were also present during the meeting between the top leaders of the two parties who joined hands on 15 May as it became clear that Karnataka had delivered a fractured verdict.

The UPA chairperson and Rahul Gandhi confirmed that they will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy on 23 May.

“I had a warm and cordial meeting this evening, in Delhi, with Shri H D Kumaraswamy ji. We discussed the political situation in Karnataka and other matters of mutual interest. I will be attending his swearing in as CM of Karnataka, on Wednesday, in Bengaluru,” wrote Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.

 

While JD(S) won 37 seats, the Congress had 78 in their kitty. Congress, which won 40 seats less than what it had in the previous election, approached JD(S) to form a post-poll alliance. It was agreed that Kumaraswamy will be the CM of the coalition government.

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Sonia Gandhi had reportedly called up JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda to cement the alliance. Deve Gowda, the father of Kumaraswamy, had before the elections famously stated that he will disown his son if he formed a government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to reports, Congress is now looking at gaining key ministries for its MLAs. The names of G Parameshwara, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief, and 86-year-old Veerashaiva strongman Shamanur Shivashankarappa are doing the rounds for the post of deputy Chief Minister.

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.

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While polling was deferred in Rajarajeshwari Nagar over allegations of electoral malpractice,election to the Jayanagar seat was countermanded following the death of the BJP candidate.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi on Monday, Kumaraswamy said, “They (the Congress) are going to support me for the formation of the new government. Only that they offered me. Other issues have not been discussed. Let’s see what they are going to suggest (to) me. According to their suggestion, we will decide.”

“I have full confidence that we (Congress and JD-S) will able to give a stable government in the state. The future course of action has not been discussed yet,” Kumaraswamy added.

Before meeting the Gandhis, Kumaraswamy met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati in New Delhi. BSP was contesting the Karnataka assembly election as a JD(S) ally. The party won one seat in the state, thus making its debut.

 

Kumaraswamy meets Mayawati
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader and Karnataka Chief Minister-designate H.D. Kumaraswamy meets BSP chief Mayawati, in New Delhi on May 21, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

 

“I came to pay my respects to her (Maywati) because we are pre-poll alliance partners. It was just a cordial meet,” he said.