Karnataka: No resolution in sight for stalemate over portfolios

BENGALURU: The agonising wait of every Kannadiga for a functional and full fledged government which can address their problems and apprehensions, continues with the JD(S)-Congress coalition unable to come to an understanding on portfolio allocation-particularly the contentious issue of who should get the all powerful finance portfolio, which determines the fund distribution among various government departments. 

With leaders of Congress and JD(S) digging their heels in on key portfolios, the coalition government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy completed a week without any major decisions, with the administration in slumber for almost two months ever since the code of conduct came into effect.

It’s not only the finance portfolio which is proving to be a stumbling block for the coalition, there are problems over allotment of other key ministries as well with parleys at different levels making little headway. What has made matters reach this point is the haste on the part of senior Congress leaders in New Delhi to forge the alliance without evolving a formula on sharing portfolios, said sources. Leaders of both parties have agreed on 22 ministries for Congress and 12 for JD(S) but the lack of clarity on allocation of portfolios has upset state  leaders of both parties.

Rahul, Sonia in the loop

The fact that differences remain unresolved was confirmed by Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal, during an interview to Deccan Chronicle. He said discussions are underway to arrive at a consensus on sharing portfolios. "I am optimistic that all contentious issues will be resolved in the next few days and the process of induction of ministers will begin," he added. 

Mr Venugopal denied that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi's visit to the US had delayed expansion of the ministry. "He (Rahul) has favoured an early solution to the imbroglio as already one week has passed since the coalition government took over. It is not correct on the part of anyone to blame these leaders for the delay in sorting out the contentious issue of portfolio sharing. Already, Rahulji has authorised KPCC chief Dr G Parameshwar and other leaders to talk with JD(S) leaders in this regard. And we are in regular touch with both Rahulji and Soniaji and briefing them on latest developments in Karnataka," he said adding that only a consensus on sharing of portfolios would help.

On HDK’s promise to write off crop loans worth Rs 53,000 crores, Mr Venugopal said he did not find anything amiss as the Congress too is pro-farmer. 
The party, however, wanted the modalities to be acceptable to both the coalition partners and to address their common interest. Besides, Mr Rahul Gandhi had announced that if voted to power, the Congress would write off loans of farmers across the country next year, he explained. Mr Venugopal declined to comment on Mr Kumaraswamy's controversial statement that he was at the mercy of the Congress, and therefore had to take consent of the party for a waiver.
 

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