Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have said the party was ready to forget the past in favour of a forward-looking alliance with HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular. After a meeting between Mr Kumaraswamy and Congress's Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on Monday evening, the Congress indicated that the two sides have discussed a broader alliance that's beyond "power sharing in Karnataka" ahead of next year's general elections.
- HD Kumaraswamy met Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Monday
- Last Congress-JD(S) partnership ended in messy split in less
- Mayawati, Mamata Banerkee Sitaram Yechury also invited for swearing-in
Quoting the two Gandhis, KK Venugopal, one of the key Congress leaders from Karnataka who was present at the meet, said, "Let the past be history, we want a new relationship, a new era".
"We don't want it (the tie-up) to be confined only to power sharing but a future alliance... Both reciprocated the feelings," Mr Venugopal added.
Ahead of next year's general elections, a united front to take on the BJP tops the opposition agenda, but cohesiveness in this direction has been elusive. Even a state-level alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) for 2019 is expected to ensure a majority of Karnataka's 28 parliamentary seats to them.
The last partnership between the two parties, forged in 2004, had ended in a messy divorce in less than two years. Mr Kumaraswamy broke the alliance at the prospect of Congress support to Siddaramaiah - a senior leader of the JD(S) who quit the party months before and formed his own -- and partnered with the BJP.
Mr Kumaraswamy had flown down to Delhi to meet the Congress brass and invite them for his oath ceremony on Wednesday. Sources said the agenda also included several matters of more immediate concern, including the contours of the new government.
There's also the matter of deputy chief ministership, over which the two parties which are taking a shot a forming the government, don't appear to be on the same page. The Congress wants two deputies for Mr Kumaraswamy to balance out the power, the JD(S) is ready for only one.
Mr Venugopal said the matter of deputies as well as the power-sharing formula, have been left to the state leaders of both parties to sort out. "The Congress will get the speakership -- that has been decided," he said.
Wednesday's oath ceremony is expected to be a show of opposition strength, with Mr Kumaraswamy inviting at least four chief ministers, and senior leaders from key opposition parties. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh's N Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana's K Chandrashekar Rao and Bengal's Mamata Banerjee will present.
Among the other invitees are Mr Kumaraswamy's ally and Dalit powerhouse from Uttar Pradesh Mayawati, senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah and Bihar leader Tejashwi Yadav, Mr Kumaraswamy told reporters in Delhi.
Rahul and Sonia Gandhi too have accepted Mr Kumarswamy's invite. After the meeting, Mr Gandhi tweeted his acceptance, "I had a warm and cordial meeting this evening, in Delhi, with Shri H D Kumaraswamy ji. We discussed the political situation in Karnataka and other matters of mutual interest. I will be attending his swearing in as CM of Karnataka, on Wednesday, in Bengaluru."