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After Rahul Gandhi's Peace-Keeping, Karnataka Finally Gets 25 Ministers

DK Shivakumar wanted to be Karnataka's Deputy Chief Minister but sources say, after a one-on-one meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi, he has agreed to settle for two ministries.

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Sources say Congress' DK Shivakumar wanted to be Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, met Rahul Gandhi


Bengaluru: 

Highlights

  1. DK Shivakumar, 56, wanted to be Deputy Chief Minister, sources said
  2. After meeting Rahul Gandhi he agreed to a cabinet post with 2 ministries
  3. He was told it would be difficult to accommodate two Vokkaligas at top
Two weeks after HD Kumaraswamy took oath as Karnataka Chief Minister, 25 ministers were sworn in today after ally Congress settled on its choice of ministers. The man behind the turmoil was DK Shivakumar - the Congress's biggest crisis manager at a time when the party was trying to prevent defections following a hung verdict in state polls.

Mr Shivakumar, 56, wanted to be Deputy Chief Minister but sources say after a one-on-one meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he agreed to the job of minister with two portfolios. He is likely to take charge of the irrigation ministry, with medical education as the second portfolio. 

Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and his party Janata Dal Secular were dead against a second Deputy Chief Minister after G Parameshwara of the Congress. Mr Shivakumar, a seven-time lawmaker, belongs to the powerful Vokkaliga caste like Mr Kumaraswamy.

Mr Shivakumar was told that it would be difficult to accommodate two Vokkaligas at the top without making other sections unhappy. But he reportedly didn't give up hope until last evening, after Rahul Gandhi persuaded him to drop his demand.

It may not end the bickering. Sources say some in the party are upset that he has been offered not one but two ministries.

For now, the Congress has picked 15 cabinet ministers. Eventually, it will have 22 ministers in the 33-member cabinet. 

The meaty portfolios of finance, excise and transport will go to the JD(S). Even Mr Shivakumar's power portfolio in the previous Congress government has gone to the JD(S). The Congress gets home, industries and revenue among other portfolios.

Both parties fought for the important finance ministry, but before any escalation, Rahul Gandhi reportedly advised Congress leaders to give in.

As part of the understanding between the partners - who have learnt bitter lessons from their past partnership that ended with Mr Kumaraswamy joining hands with the BJP - a coordination committee will be set up with former chief minister Siddaramaiah as its chief. 

For the Congress, which failed to win the Karnataka election, it has been a tough balancing act driven by the bigger considerations - the 2019 national election and a strong, stable alliance to beat the BJP in Karnataka.

The two parties have announced that they will contest the 2019 polls together in Karnataka.

How the JDS-Congress came to rule Karnataka has been a huge confidence booster for opposition parties who turned Mr Kumaraswamy's oath ceremony into a show of unity against the BJP.

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