Kumaraswamy's swearing-in today; Opposition readies for show of strength

JD(S) leader and Karnataka chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy (Centre) visits Manjunatha Swamy temple, ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, at Kshetra Dharmasthala in Dharmasthala, Karnataka, on Tuesday. Photo: PTI
Even as the Opposition prepares for a show of strength during H D Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in as Karnataka chief minister in Bengaluru on Wednesday, the BJP is rushing to fulfill its promises in states where it hopes to make substantial gains.

Kumaraswamy is gearing up to take charge of the state and he will have a deputy chief minister from the Congress. The highlight of the oath-taking ceremony will be the congregation of leading opposition leaders, he said.

In Bengaluru, Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, Mallikarjun Kharge and D K Shivakumar discussed the shape of the council of ministers with Janata Dal (Secular) leaders Kumaraswamy and H D Revanna.

After the meeting, Kumaraswamy said the deputy chief minister and Assembly speaker would be from the Congress. Congress leader G Parameshwara is the frontrunner to be the deputy chief minister. A host of opposition leaders are slated to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

However, consensus eludes the Opposition on the putative ‘federal front’. CPI (M) chief Sitaram Yechury, while addressing a press conference here, was dismissive of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s efforts at putting in place a ‘federal front’. He said only a post-poll alliance was workable.

As the Narendra Modi government prepares to mark four years of its tenure, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday indicated that it was concerned about the criticism the government faced on increasing fuel prices, and also showcased its efforts at implementing central schemes in 16,500 villages.

To mark four years of his government, the Prime Minister will address a public rally in Cuttack, Odisha, on May 26. Odisha is one of the states, along with West Bengal, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP hopes to win more seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. On May 26, BJP chief Amit Shah will address a press conference in Delhi, and the party will hold programmes across the country from May 26 to June 11.

On the increasing fuel prices, Shah said on Tuesday a decision would be taken on the issue in the next couple of days. He said oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan will be meeting oil companies on Wednesday. Shah also claimed that 16,500 villages were covered by seven flagship welfare schemes, including providing cooking gas cylinders to poor, during a recent campaign and asserted that the Modi government would seek coverage of all villages in the country by the next Lok Sabha polls.

The Gram Swaraj Abhiyan was held between April 14 and May 5.

The BJP chief said the next step would be to ensure power connection, cooking gas connection and opening of new bank accounts and full coverage of all other welfare schemes in 45,000 villages of the 115 most-backward districts in the country by August 15. 

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