Bengaluru: Just before new Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's test of strength today, his deputy G Parameshwara of the Congress cast doubts on his term with a stunning comment. Asked yesterday whether Mr Kumaraswamy would stay chief minister for a full five-year term, Mr Parameshwara said: "We have not yet discussed those modalities."
- Congress has more seats but backed JDS to form government, keep BJP out
- Gave Kumaraswamy Chief Minister's post who denied rotational arrangment
- But his deputy, G Parameshwara of Congress, says that is not final yet
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru on Thursday, he added: "We are also yet to decide on what portfolios have to go to them and what should be with us, then five-year term - whether they should be or we should also...all those modalities we have still not discussed."
Mr Kumaraswamy had said on the weekend that there was "no rotational arrangement for chief ministership" between his Janata Dal Secular (JDS) and Congress.
When the question was asked again in a different way, Mr Parameshwara hedged.
Was the Congress fine with giving the chief minister's post to the Janata Dal Secular for full a five-year term, Mr Parameshwara was asked. "After discussing...looking at the pros and cons (we will decide), our main intention is to give good administration."
In the assembly later, he said: "The purpose of the deputy chief minister's post is to help the Chief Minister."
Mr Kumaraswamy had dismissed reports about his party working out a power-sharing formula of heading the government for 30 months each. "No such talks have taken place," he had said on Sunday.
Congress lawmaker and former minister RV Deshpande, asked about his colleague's statement, said: "I don't want to comment now. But it will all be worked out. There is a coalition dharma. It was not observed the first time but Kumaraswamy has said he will learn from mistakes."
The previous Congress-JDS coalition government in 2004 was headed by a Congressman, Dharam Singh, with the deputy's post for the JDS. Mr Kumaraswamy brought down the government and embraced the BJP, becoming chief minister.
Despite swapping barbs and insults during the campaign for the May 12 election, the Congress and the JDS came together again, after the BJP failed to win an outright majority even though it emerged the single largest party.
Soon after the alliance was invited to form government, there was a dispute over the post of deputy Chief Minister; the Congress wanted two. While Mr Parameshwara was already in line for the job, there were reports that DK Shivakumar, the Congress leader instrumental in keeping the party's flock of lawmakers intact in the face of alleged attempts to engineer defections, also expected the post.
"Is it the same for those who win one seat and those who win the state? I have not come to politics to take sanyas. I will play chess, not football," Mr Shivakumar said, denying that he was upset.