After days of negotiation, HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular and the Congress have finalized the division of power — with the crucial finance ministry going to the regional party and the home department to the Congress. The cabinet expansion is expected over the week-end, said party sources. The Congress is expected to get 22 of the 34 ministries and the JD(S) 12.
Last week, only Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara of the Congress took oath amid speculation of conflict between the coalition partners over cabinet portfolios.
Sources said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who is currently abroad, has signed off on the agreement through videoconference last night. This afternoon, senior Congress leader Venugopal Rao and Danish Ali of the JD(S) are expected to go to Bengaluru.
“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,” Mr Ali was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The team of Congress negotiators included senior party leaders Gulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Ahmed Patel and Venugopal Rao. The JD(S) was represented by Danish Ali, who was in constant touch with party boss HD Deve Gowda and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.Last week on Monday, Mr Kumaraswamy visited Delhi to meet Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi. That time, Mr Gandhi had suggested the state leaders from both parties sort out the power-sharing issue, said Mr Venugopal, who was present for the meeting.
But with Mrs Gandhi travelling abroad for her heal check-up along with Rahul Gandhi, the cabinet formation was expected to be further delayed.