Ending days of hectic parleys between JD(S) and Congress on cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation in Karnataka, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal Friday said the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy-led party will be holding the finance portfolio. “We (Congress-JDS) have come to a conclusion regarding cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation. JDS will be holding the finance portfolio. Everything is settled,” Congress leader Venugopal told reporters.
Buoyed by the Opposition’s success in the recently-held bye-elections, Venugopal also announced that the Congress and JD(S) will fight next year’s general election as a pre-poll alliance to take on the BJP.
While the Congress has conceded the crucial finance ministry to the regional party, the home department and the Bengaluru city development department went to the grand old party. Kumaraswamy said the ministry expansion will take place on June 6.
As per the power-sharing agreement, the Congress would get the portfolios of home, irrigation, Bangalore city development, industry and sugar industry, health, revenue, urban development, rural development, agriculture, housing, medical education, social welfare, forest and environment, labour, mines and geology. Additionally, it will hold charge of the department of women and child welfare, food and civil supplies, Haj, Wakf and minority affairs, law and parliamentary affairs, science and technology and information technology/bio-technology, youth, sports and Kannada culture and ports and inland transport development.
The JD(S), on the other hand, has been allotted the portfolios of finance, excise, information, intelligence, planning and statistics, public works department, power, cooperation, tourism, besides education, animal husbandry and fisheries, horticulture and sericulture, small scale industries, transport and minor irrigation.
The rest of the departments would be decided by the chief minister in consultation with Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Venugopal said.
Congress and JD(S) had been locked in negotiations ever since Kumaraswamy proved majority on the floor of the assembly on May 25, two days after his swearing-in on May 23. Sharing of key portfolios was the point of contention between both the parties, most importantly Finance, which both Congress and JD(S) wanted.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today spoke to JD(S) supremo and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda over phone from the US, even as the two parties continued to grapple with the ministry formation in Karnataka. “Everything has been finalised — ministry formation, portfolio allocation and common minimum programme. Rahul ji spoke to Deve Gowda ji,” JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali was quoted as saying by PTI. Rahul Gandhi is presently in the US with his mother, who has gone for a medical check-up.
Kumaraswamy, along with his deputy G Parameshwara, met the governor today to discuss the date for the swearing in. “The Governor (Vajubhia Vala) has fixed 2 p.m. on June 6 for the swearing-in of all the 32 Cabinet Ministers. The venue for the ceremony will be decided soon,” he told reporters.