- HD Kumaraswamy's swearing-in will feature an array of political leaders
- Telangana's KCR, Odisha's Naveen Patnaik to skip swearing-in ceremony
- KCR, there's speculation, doesn't want to share the stage with Congress
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao --- or KCR as he is popularly known --- will skip the oath ceremony but flew down to Bengaluru this evening in a special flight to meet Mr Kumaraswamy and will return tonight.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, a former ally of the BJP who was personally invited by JDS supremo and Mr Kumaraswamy's father HD Deve Gowda, will also stay away.
Sources in Mr Patnaik's office told NDTV that no political reason should be attributed as the Chief Minister has not attended swearing-in ceremonies for 18 years.
In January, Mr Patnaik had invited Mr Deve Gowda to Odisha for the launch of a book on his late father Biju Patnaik, with whom the JDS leader had close ties that go back to the days of the undivided Janata Party.
KCR's absence is, however, viewed as a downer on the opposition's show. The other prominent guests are Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the UPA.
While KCR's office said he can't attend the oath ceremony because of "important engagements", there's speculation he doesn't want to be seen sharing any platform with leaders of the Congress, a rival of his party TRS in Telangana. Assembly elections are due in the state next year.
The Telangana chief minister has also been at the forefront of efforts to form a federal front --- an anti-BJP, anti-Congress bloc of opposition parties --- ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The JDS allying with the Congress in Karnataka as part of a bigger tie-up that may hold good for next year's Lok Sabha elections comes as a jolt to KCR.
Before the May 12 Karnataka assembly election, KCR had met Deve Gowda and had even appealed to Telugu-speaking people in the state to vote for Mr Gowda's party.