Karnataka Cabinet tussle: Congress gets home ministry while Janata Dal(Secular) manages to wriggle finance

Amid the counting of votes for the various bypolls and a thumping win for Congress in the RR Nagar Assembly seat, some important portfolios for the Karnataka Cabinet have been announced on Thursday.

 Karnataka Cabinet tussle: Congress gets home ministry while Janata Dal(Secular) manages to wriggle finance

File images of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy. PTI

While Congress has got the Home Ministry, JD(S) has managed to bag the Finance Ministry which chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is expected to helm to fulfil his pre-poll promise of farm-loan waiver. According to IANS, besides Home portfolio, the Congress is expected to get Higher Education, Health, Housing and Bengaluru Development, while the JD-S would get Medical Education, Agriculture and Revenue portfolios.

Overall, as of now, the Congress-JD(S) combine government in Karnataka is looking at a 22-12 MLA combination for the Vidhan Soudha. While a further expansion is expected to happen on Monday.

The message from this arrangement seems loud and clear that the Congress is not afraid to let go of important holdings in a government in order to keep its allies pleased. However, its position stands emboldened in light of the RR Nagar verdict and may thus look to further its strength in the Legislative Assembly ahead of the expansion.

Earlier, according to a The Hindu report, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is out of the country for his mother Sonia Gandhi’s annual health check-up, was planning to return earlier than expected to iron out the differences between the alliance partners. But the same report stated that before leaving Gandhi had fully empowered the trio of Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Ashok Gehlot to see through the cabinet formation.

Sources said Rahul is on board over the portfolio sharing agreement and has spoken to leaders over the phone from the United States. Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal and JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali will travel to Bengaluru to hold further talks with their state leaders before finalizing the arrangement, the sources said. “We have held five rounds of talks with each other and have decided that the JD(S) will get the Finance portfolio. I will be now travelling to Bengaluru to hold further talks within our party,” Danish Ali told PTI.

He said he would meet both Chief Minister HD Kumarswamy and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.

Leaders of the two parties, including Ali as well as the Congress' Ahmed Patel, Ashok Gehlot and Venugopal, met at the residence of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for talks. The sharing of key portfolios in the Karnataka government has been a bone of contention between the two alliance partners since Kumaraswamy took over as chief minister on 23 May, delaying government formation in the state.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: May 31, 2018 22:08:06 IST