Congress, JD(S) bigwigs to meet today on cabinet formation

Bengaluru/New Delhi: With barely a day left for his swearing in as the CM of a JD(S)-Congress coalition government on Wednesday, JD(S) state president H.D. Kumaraswamy is battling a series of thorny issues on which the stability of the coalition and its future rest.

While senior Congress leaders including party general secretary K.C. Venugopal said in Delhi that the Assembly Speaker's post would go to the Congress, the sharing of Cabinet berths between the Congress and JD(S) and the selection of ministers besides the vexed issue of the Deputy CM post would be discussed at a meeting of Congress and JD(S) leaders in Bengaluru on Tuesday, said sources.  

The top leadership of the two parties have 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 choice of Speaker had become contentious with the Congress reportedly insisting that its nominee should get the plum post as it has a higher number of MLAs-78-in the Assembly and reportedly convincing the JD(S) about its claim. The number of berths each coalition partner will also be debated at the meeting on Tuesday with the Congress demanding at least 20 berths in the new ministry which can have a maximum strength of 33. 

Another major issue which the coalition leaders are grappling with is that of the Deputy CM post. According to sources, the Congress has mooted two Deputy CMs as it is the numerically strong party, in order to strike a balance with the JD(S) which has bagged the CM post but the regional party is not in favour of this proposal.

For Rahul, HDK now the ‘A’ team

During his 20-minute closed door meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi
in Delhi on Monday, Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy is learnt to have discussed the
nitty-gritty of Cabinet formation and the number of ministerial berths the
Congress and the JD(S) would get. The meeting took place at Rahul Gandhi's Tughlaq Lane residence.

The sources said at the meeting Mr Kumaraswamy promised to provide good governance in Karnataka and said he would seek Rahul Gandhi's advice on all important issues. The Congress chief also extended his full support to the JD(S) chief for the "long-term relationship". 

"There is no bargain. We will cordially work out things. We must work together. I am here to take their (Congress leaders') advice," said Mr Kumaraswamy, when asked by reporters ahead of the meeting how the Congress and the JD(S) will address the issue of ministry formation. Mr K.C. Venugopal, the AICC's Karnataka in-charge, was also present at the meeting.

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