Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Saturday that there were some “issues” in portfolio-sharing between allies JD(S) and Congress but the same would be resolved. He said this to mediapersons in Bengaluru ahead of a meeting of Karnataka Congress functionaries with their party chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. The late-evening meeting remained inconclusive. Another round of talks is scheduled for Sunday, which the CM might attend.
Although he admitted there were issues, Kumaraswamy said they were “ not something that will pull down the government”. A PTI report quoted the CM as saying, “I will try not to take up an issue as a prestige issue and try to solve a problem… Otherwise I will see. I will not stick to this post leaving my self-esteem.” He was responding to questions on portfolio allocation and a farm loan waiver.
Congress sources said Sunday’s meeting should sort out some of these issues as Kumaraswamy has had a telephonic talk with Rahul. The coalition partners are expected to reach a consensus on some portfolios and form the cabinet with 16 ministers in the first phase. The allies are working on a tight timeline as Rahul is scheduled to leave for the US with his Sonia Gandhi on Sunday and return on June 12.
During his 30-minute meeting with Congress functionaries K C Venugopal, Mallikarjun Kharge, Siddaramaiah, G Parameshwara and D K Shivakumar on Saturday, Rahul reportedly discussed the criteria for taking fresh faces. In the 34-member cabinet, Congress will get 22 berths and JD(S) 12 . Congress sources said the leaders insisted that the party should drive a hard bargain for key posts as they had ceded the CM’s post to JD(S).
The latter has set its sights on finance, PWD, revenue and water resources, all of which Congress also wants to keep. Kumaraswamy had met Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara and Shivakumar on Friday evening soon after the trust vote to discuss ministry formation. Alongside portfolio sharing, the coalition partners will also have to reach an agreement on the 11 legislative council seats for which elections will be held in the near future.
The CM’s office said Kumaraswamy was expected in New Delhi on Monday as the appointment he had sought with Modi to congratulate him on completing four years in office had come through. The meeting is scheduled at 11.30am, followed by another with Union minister Piyush Goyal to discuss coal supply for power generation in Karnataka.