Karnataka govt formation LIVE updates: Warm and cordial meeting with Kumaraswamy, says Rahul Gandhi

FP Staff
Hectic lobbying is going on in the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) for the ministerial posts in the Karnataka coalition government ahead of the cabinet expansion on Wednesday in Bengaluru.

Karnataka government formation latest updates: The JD(S) chief ministerial designate HD Kumaraswamy met BSP supremo Mayawati in Delhi and is set to meet alliance partner in Karnataka, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday. The meeting is expected to be held in the evening, with discussions on how many Cabinet berths will be allotted between the two parties.

Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he, along with Ashok Gehlot and KC Venugopal, met Rahul Monday morning and apprised him about the sense prevailing among the party MLAs in the state.

While addressing a press conference, BJP president Amit Shah said that the mandate in Karnataka Assembly polls was against the Congress. He added that the party has found a new way of portraying defeat as its victory. Congress' Anand Sharma said that the BJP should apologise to the people of Karnataka for trying to use unfair means to come to power.

Responding to a question on if there was any resentment within the Congress party over the alliance with JD(S) in Karnataka, chief-minister designate HD Kumaraswamy replied: "Who told you? This is all bogus and fake news. This is not true."

Addressing a press meet ahead of HD Kumaraswamy's meeting with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress MLA DK Shivakumar said he is confident of getting more berths in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. "We have given up the Karnataka chief minister's post. We are also confident of getting more berths," he said.

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy has made it clear that this time around, there will be no rotational chief minister arrangement with the Congress in Karnataka, a decision which had soured JD(S)' relations with the BJP coalition government in 2007. "I will not give up the chief minister's post for anybody. I will be the chief minister for the entire five-year term. Congress has not raised the issue of a rotational chief minister," The New Indian Express quoted Kumaraswamy as saying.

In an interview to The Economic Times, JD(S) leader and chief minister-apparent said that although he wanted to be a king, not kingmaker, he hoped it had been done through the people's mandate in Karnataka. "I wanted to become king through the mandate of the people, not like this," he said. He went on to rue the fact that even in 2006, when he became the chief minister, it was due to political developments, as it is today.

Ahead of his swearing-in as the Karnataka chief minister, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy will meet Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Monday to discuss the modalities of government formation.

Clarifying that no discussion has taken place so far on the allocation of ministerial berths, Kumaraswamy termed reports on the power-sharing formula of 30 months each between the parties as "bogus".

"I'm visiting New Delhi (on Monday)...I will meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the party's senior leader Sonia Gandhi," he told reporters in Bengaluru.

Based on the outcome of discussions with them, a decision will be taken on the number of Congress and JD(S) MLAs who will become ministers, Kumaraswamy added.

BS Yeddyurappa had on Saturday stepped down as the chief minister without facing the floor test in the state Assembly as the BJP fell short of numbers, following which Kumaraswamy met Governor Vajubhai Vala, and said he had been invited to form the government.

The 12 May Karnataka Assembly polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats.

While making it clear that there have been no discussions yet on the portfolio allocation, Kumaraswamy requested the media not to create confusion among the public and MLAs with such "speculative" reports.

He also asserted that within 24 hours of taking oath, he would prove the majority on the floor of the House.

"Mostly on Wednesday there will be oath-taking ceremony after that on Thursday we will complete the process of Speaker's election and trust vote," he added.

After meeting the governor, Kumaraswamy had on Saturday said the swearing-in ceremony would take place tentatively between 12 noon and 1.50 pm at Kanteerava stadium on 21 May.

But, later he announced that the event would be held on 23 May as 21 May happens to be the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The venue of the swearing-in is also likely to be changed, with party sources now saying it is likely to take place at Vidhana Soudha (the seat of the state legislature).

However, Kumaraswamy said he had spoken to the chief secretary and other senior officials about it and they would take a call on the venue.

Kumaraswamy on Sunday met his father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda at his residence and later visited the hotel where JD(S) MLAs are camping and held a meeting with them.

Meanwhile, the JD(S) leader is scheduled to visit a temple at Srirangam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu on Monday.

Asked about reports on power-sharing formula of 30 months each that is being worked out with the Congress, Kumaraswamy said, "No such talks have taken place."

On reports about parleys with Congress leaders regarding elections in Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Jayanagar Assembly constituencies, Kumarasamy described it as "bogus".

"It is a bogus news...No such discussions have taken place. Winning Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Jayanagara is a necessity. Till now, no such discussions have happened," he said.

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

With inputs from PTI

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