Kumaraswamy discusses Karnataka govt formation with Rahul, Sonia: Updates

JD(S) leader and Karnataka chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy presents a bouquet to Congress President Rahul Gandhi as former Congress president Sonia Gandhi looks on during a meeting at latter's residence, in New Delhi
JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy will take oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 23 at 4.30 pm on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat. Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Kumaraswamy, a government release said. Kumaraswamy will visit Dharmashala and Sringeri on Tuesday to seek the blessings of Lord Manjunath, Sringeri Sharada Devi and the present Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Teertha, the release said. Congress president Rahul Gandhi today confirmed his presence at the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy as Karnataka chief minister.

Chief Ministers of non-BJP states and head of regional parties, including West Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party Mayawati, are also expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Kumaraswamy, who is in New Delhi, met Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to finalise the modalities of government formation and ministerial berth sharing between the two post-poll allies.

The JDS leader, who will be sworn in as chief minister on Wednesday for the second time in 12 years, arrived in Delhi this afternoon and began his engagements with a meeting with pre-poll ally BSP chief Mayawati.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Shivaram Hebbar on Monday dismissed as "fake" an audio clip released by the party to allege that the BJP offered money and the ministerial berth to him for cross-voting during the floor test in the Assembly.

The Congress had released three audio tapes in the run-up to the floor test, claiming that the BJP leaders were trying to 'poach' on the party MLAs by offering 'blandishments' so that the BS Yeddyurappa government is saved.

Kumaraswamy was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala to take the reins of power after the three-day BJP government collapsed last Saturday with B S Yeddyurappa, unable to muster the required number for a majority, stepping down as the chief minister without facing the floor test in the state assembly.

The May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats. The Congress was next with 78 and the JD(S) followed with 37. The BSP has one MLA and two seats went to Independents.

Here are the latest developments related to the formation of government in Karnataka:

1. Discussed government formation with Rahul, Sonia, says KumaraswamyChief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) today promised a stable government in Karnataka and a "long-term relationship" with the Congress, as he invited top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to his swearing-in in Bengaluru on May 23.

According to highly-placed sources, the Congress-JD(S) combine will have a coordination committee in place to run their government in Karnataka and the Assembly Speaker will be from the Congress.

The coordination committee will have five-six members who will ensure smooth functioning of the coalition government.

The top leadership of the two parties decided to make a new beginning leaving behind the past, when they had come together and fallen apart, and vowed to have "a long-term relationship".

The sources said the Congress leadership would take a call on who would be its deputy chief minister on Tuesday when the leaders of the two parties would meet in Bangaluru to work out modalities of power-sharing in the southern state.

2. Yeddyurappa vows to stage a comeback: Coming to grips with the loss in the numbers game in government formation, BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa on Monday vowed to stage a comeback. He told party workers in an emotional message that their efforts would not go in vain.

Yeddyurappa, who bowed out of as Chief Minister in less than three days after being sworn in on May 17, lamented that "democracy has been axed."

The BJP as the single largest party, which got the people's mandate, was thrown out of power, he said in a Facebook post.

"Having won the maximum seats, it was a responsibility bestowed upon us by our voters to form the government. However it is now known to the world why we failed. The twoparties, which were rejected by the people, conspired againstus," said Yeddyurappa in his post.


Difficult times ahead, says KPCC chief ahead of JD(S)-Congress govt formation in Karnataka

3. Amit Shah dubs Congress-JD(S) alliance unholy, defends BJP government formationBJP President Amit Shah on Monday dubbed the alliance of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular in Karnataka as "unholy" and said that there was nothing wrong in his party forming the new state government since it was the single-largest one after the polls.

"We were the single-largest party and we were invited to form the government. There was nothing unethical," Shah said at a press conference in New Delhi.

"The BJP emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka. The mandate was in favour of the BJP. The Congress and the JD-S formed an alliance against the people's mandate. This is what I call an unholy alliance."

He said if the Congress and the JD-S had not "locked" their MLAs in five-star hotels and allowed them to interact with people, the JD(S) would have supported BJP in government formation.

He said, "BJP is the single largest party in Karnataka, our vote share saw a major increase. The mandate was clearly anti-Congress. What is the Congress celebrating? More than half of their ministers lost, CM lost from one seat. Similarly, why is JDS celebrating? For getting 37 seats?"

"Congress has falsely claimed that Yeddyurappa ji asked for 7 days, from the Governor, to prove majority. If it was the case, they should have asked for the letter for him. Congress lawyer lied in the Court," added Amit Shah.

Humpe horse trading ka aarop lagaya hai, lekin Congress ne poora ka poora astabal (stable) bech khaya hai. We had the right, so we claimed for it (to form the govt): BJP President Amit Shah pic.twitter.com/w7XXAIZ9I3

— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2018

ALSO READ: Amit Shah dismisses Opposition alliance as challenge, claims BJP will retain power with bigger majority

4. Karnataka Congress MLA says audio tape released by his party to frame BJP is 'fake'In a development that could leave the Congress red-faced in Karnataka, its MLA Shivaram Hebbar on Monday dismissed as "fake" an audio clip released by the party to allege that the BJP offered money and ministerial berth to him for cross-voting during the floor test in the Assembly.

The Congress had released three audio tapes in run up to the floor test, claiming that the BJP leaders were trying to 'poach' on the party MLAs by offering 'blandishments' so that the BS Yeddyurappa government is saved.

One of the audio tapes released by the party allegedly had a conversation between Hebbar's wife and BJP leaders, who allegedly offered money and ministerial post to woo him to vote for the BJP.

However, in a Facebook post in Kanadda, Hebbar today questioned the authenticity of the audio clip, saying her wife did not receive any such call.

5. Congress leaders brief Rahul Gandhi ahead of meeting with KumaraswamyTop Congress leaders briefed party president Rahul Gandhi today about the latest political developments in Karnataka, before the crucial deliberations on power-sharing arrangement with JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.

According to party sources, AICC general secretaries Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and K C Venugopal met Gandhi this morning and apprised him about the sense prevailing among the party MLAs in the state.

Kumaraswamy is likely to meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi later today to finalise the power-sharing arrangement in the southern state.

The Congress, which has offered the chief minister's post to Kumaraswamy, is likely to have its deputy chief minister and G Parmeshwara is among the frontrunners.

The Congress is also seeking 20 ministerial berths in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

6. Kumaraswamy trashed resentment within Congress over allianceKarnataka Chief Minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy on Monday refuted the reports of resentment within the Congress party over its alliance with Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S), while calling it bogus and fake.

"Who told you? This is all bogus and fake news. This is not true," Kumaraswamy told ANI.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy said that the party is happy being in an alliance with the JD(S).

Speaking to ANI, Reddy said, "We are 100 percent happy. There is give and take policy is there, even in Bengaluru's Municipal Corporation alliance is functioning smoothly for 3 years."

"Of course some people in both parties will have to sacrifice, as all can't become ministers," he added.

7. Cauvery water row: Kumaraswamy asks Rajinikanth to visit KarnatakaAfter actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth demanded Karnataka to release Cauvery river water for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Chief Minister-designate HD Kumaraswamy on Monday invited the superstar to the state to see the conditions of reservoirs, where water is not sufficient.

"I have invited Rajinikanth to come here and look at the condition of our reservoirs, water is not sufficient. I am sure he will understand," Kumaraswamy told ANI.

Reportedly, Rajinikanth had asked the new government in Karnataka to release to Tamil Nadu its share of Cauvery river water as mandated by the Supreme Court verdict.

ALSO READ: Kejriwal to attend Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony

8. Swallowed bitter pills for a secular government in Karnataka, says CongressSenior Congress leader from Karnataka, D K Shivakumar on Monday said that the Congress party and the Janata Dal (Secular) had to sort out their differences for the sake of forming a secular government in Karnataka.

Admitting that the Congress and the JD(S) were at loggerheads before the Karnataka state assembly polls, Shivakumar told ANI, "In politics, I have been fighting against the Gowdas since 1985. In the last parliamentary election and assembly election against them, I won against his son, I won against his daughter-in-law. A lot of politics have been played. Lots of cases were also registered. But in the interests of the nation and party, we need a secular government in Karnataka."

"Rahul Gandhi has taken a decision that there should be a secular government here. That is what the entire country needs and that is why we have taken this stand (alliance with JD-S). I had to swallow all this bitterness since this is my duty," he added.

#WATCH Congress leader DK Shivakumar says, 'Rahul Gandhi has taken decision that there should be secular govt here. That's what the entire country needs & that's why we have taken this stand (alliance with JDS). I had to swallow all this bitterness, this is my duty' #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/Q1fuL5nbCI

— ANI (@ANI) 21 May 2018

Asked if the Congress-JD(S) government would complete a full term, Shivakumar said he could not answer the question as the party had various issues and options before them.

#WATCH Congress leader DK Shivakumar says, 'Time will answer. I don't want to answer it now. We have various issues, options before us, I can't tell right now', when asked if Congress-JD(S) government will complete full term #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/wnDiKqg2Yj

— ANI (@ANI) 21 May 2018
8. Kumaraswamy's swearing-in a chance for building Opposition unity: Will JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony serve as another opportunity for cobbling together a unified Opposition, consisting of regional parties, against Prime Minister Modi and the BJP? Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will be among the chief ministers of Opposition parties to attend the swearing-in. A TDP leader said attending Kumarswamy's swearing-in would "send the right signal to the nation". Naidu has called for Opposition unity to fight the Modi-led BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress top leadership, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar are also slated to take part in the event.

Broad alliance to depend on Congress' flexibility: Top regional leaders have indicated that successful formation of a broad alliance ahead of the 2019 polls will depend on the flexibility of the Congress. While Pawar congratulated Rahul Gandhi for ousting the BJP and described Congress' role as a sensible one, Mamata Banerjee, among the first to call the developments a victory of the regional front, did not mention Gandhi in her message. Meanwhile, senior CPI leader D Raja told news agency PTI that the question of who would lead the front should be kept open.   

9. Congress may get two deputy chief ministerial posts: According to sources, Congress may get two deputy chief ministerial posts in the Karnataka government.  One of the deputy chief ministers could be a Dalit, probably Karnataka state unit chief G Parameshwara, and the second one may be a Lingayat. This will be done to reach out to the two communities.

The Congress is likely to get 20 ministerial berths, while the JD (S) could get 14, including that of the chief minister.

10. 'We may have lost the battle, but we will win the war': BJP still believes it can make a comeback in Karnataka, thanks to what a party leader described as the inherent contradictions in the Congress-JD(S) alliance in the state.   

The likely consolidation of a section of voters, especially Lingayats, behind the BJP would also help keep the party in pole position in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, its leaders said.

Sources said the BJP believes that the Lingayats and a few other groups will further consolidate behind the party in the wake of the JD(S) and the Congress, two "arch rivals", joining hands to keep it out of power. 

With agency inputs

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