HD Kumaraswamy is expected to take oath as Karnataka chief minister on Wednesday.
Bengaluru: After a meeting between HD Kumaraswamy and the Gandhis, the Congress on Monday hinted at the possibility of a broader alliance with the JD(S) ahead of next year's General Elections. The chief of Janata Dal Secular met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi last evening amid a growing disagreement between the two parties. Just after getting a shot at forming a government together, the Congress and the JDS appear to be at odds over the post of deputy chief minister - the Congress wants two but Mr Kumaraswamy's party won't have more than one, sources said. The oath ceremony on Wednesday is set to become a show of opposition unity and strength, with Mr Kumaraswamy inviting several chief ministers and other leaders.
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"We don't want it to be confined only to power sharing but a future alliance... Both reciprocated the feelings," said Congress' senior state leader KC Venugopal after the meeting, in which the immediate concerns about power sharing was also discussed.
It was decided that the Congress will get the post of the speaker. "We haven't agreed on Deputy Chief Minister. We have asked the two state units to work this out and even the power sharing formula," Mr Venugopal added.
Mr Kumaraswamy, who landed in Delhi nearly four hours behind schedule, told NDTV that he would take a decision on whether he would be sworn in alone or with the entire Cabinet "after my discussion with the Congress leadership". The floor test is expected within 24 hours of Wednesday's oath ceremony.
The Congress wants two positions of Deputy Chief Ministers -- one for a Lingayat candidate and the other for a Dalit, but that is not acceptable to the JD(S), sources say. DK Shivakumar and MB Patil are among those in the race for the proposed second post.
DK Shivakumar has claimed credit with holding the Congress lawmakers' flock together amid attempts to bribe, threaten or induce them to cross over to the BJP before BS Yeddyurappa's floor test on Saturday. Mr Shivakumar was able to bring back two lawmakers who, he claimed, were being forcibly held by the BJP. Asked whether he would be rewarded, Mr Shivakumar said, "You ask my party leaders what dues I'll get".
The Congress won 78 seats in comparison to the JD(S)' 38, and so expects a lion's share of the ministries. Sources say a tentative agreement where the Congress gets 20 of the 33 cabinet berths has been discussed. Stressing on the need for a "give and take policy" to keep the BJP out of power, Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy said, "We can't satisfy everybody... some people have to sacrifice".
Till the trust vote, the Congress and the JD(S) lawmakers will be confined to their hotels. The Congress legislators are at Bengaluru's Hilton and Embassy Golf Links under the care of senior party leader DK Shivakumar. The lawmakers of the JD(S) are at the Prestige Resorts in Devanahalli on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
The two parties had taken the precaution of keeping their legislators on the move to prevent poaching since the election results came in and the BJP was invited to form the government as the single-largest party even though they were seven seats short of majority in the 224-seat assembly.
While the decision of Governor Vajubhai Vala was challenged by the Congress in the Supreme Court, the trust vote did not take place. Mr Yeddyurappa stepped down at the last minute, amid Congress allegations of coercion, abduction and bribery of lawmakers.
Leaders of 11 opposition parties and Chief Ministers of four states -- Andhra Pradesh's N Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana's K Chandrashekar Rao, Bengal's Mamata Banerjee and Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal -- are expected to attend Mr Kumaraswamy's oath ceremony. The gathering is likely to give direction of the opposition gameplan to take on the BJP in the next year's general elections.