- HD Kumaraswamy and G Parameshwara are the only cabinet members now
- JD(S) and Congress unable to agree upon finance ministry, say sources
- Mr Kumaraswamy reportedly discussed ministries with Ghulam Nabi Azad
The Janata Dal Secular leader and his deputy from the Congress, G Parameshwara, remain the only members of the cabinet since the grand swearing in ceremony on Wednesday that segued into the opposition's anti-BJP unity show. That's because in a difficult coalition, they simply can't iron out the differences and aspirations easily especially when it comes to portfolios.
While the main bone of contention was an important ministry, finance, that now seems almost to have been sorted. It was the ministry that Rahul Gandhi was insisting that the Congress keep because of his plans for farm loan waiver, but since JDS also seems adamant on it, they are now coming around to giving up this portfolio. However, now the problem seems to be that Congress wants to extract its 78 MLA vis-a-vis 37 MLA, superior position through other portfolios. JDS sources confirmed to NDTV that they want to keep the other 'juicy' portfolios for themselves. The Congress is to get 22 of the 34 ministries in the state and the JDS 12 as part of the deal between the two parties when they formed an alliance after a hung verdict.
Sources say except for Public Works Department, Industries and Revenue, the Congress wants most of the meaty portfolios - Power, irrigation, rural development, Bengaluru urban development, power, energy, social welfare, health, housing and tourism. The most controversial portfolio 'mining' is also one that the Congress allegedly wants for itself. "They have offered us revenue but that is also not a very heavy portfolio these days,'' said a source of the JDS. The Congress sources say that it was wrong to say that they were playing big brother. However, the 'unconditional support' seems to have certainly faded away.
Dismissing reports that the ministry allotment would be further delayed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi's trip abroad accompanying mother Sonia Gandhi for a medical check-up, a Congress leaders admitted there is a "minor disagreement" which would be sorted out by this evening.
This story is either incorrect or wishful thinking of the one who has planted it. Cabinet will be announced well before RG's arrival. JDS and Congress leaders have almost finalised all names. Minor disagreement on ONE portfolio which should be resolved by this evening https://t.co/zZCLkp9PMdMayur Shekhar Jha (@mayur_jha) May 29, 2018
The two parties had a similar dispute just after being invited to form government last week. The Congress was reportedly angling for two posts of deputy chief minister to accommodate, apart from its state chief G Parameshwara, DK Shivakumar, who has taken credit for keeping the party's lawmakers in line when the BJP was allegedly trying to raise numbers for its floor test. The JDS, however, stayed firm that there would be only one deputy.
The BJP - which took power for two days before quitting because of lack of numbers - has forecast that the coalition will not last beyond a few months. BJP leaders have also criticized Mr Kumaraswamy's comment that he is at the "mercy" of the Congress and not public pressure.