Congress in Karnataka let go Finance portfolio to JD(S) while taking Home and key portfolios
As news of the success of the Gatbandhan formula working well in the Assembly and Lok Sabha byelections, the Congress opened its heart out in Karnataka and let go the finance portfolio to its junior partner, the JD(S).
The Congress clearly did not want to send out a message that alliances are built using brittle bricks and that the party is ready to be accommodative. But insiders say that the formula of appeasing the JD(S) will hang on only till 2019 general elections; after this, the Congress will turn the heat on the JD(S).
But , a week after HD Kumaraswamy and G Parameswara took oath and after several rounds of hectic negotiations over sharing of portfolios, it was decided that the Finance will go to the JD(U) and the Home Department to the Congress. HDK is likely to handle the finance portfolio himself with his father HD Deve Gowda doing some deft backseat driving.
The go-ahead was given by Congress president Rahul Gandhi who reportedly spoke to leaders over the phone from the United States, where he is with his mother Sonia Gandhi who has gone for a medical check-up.
Sources said the JD(S) may get PWD too which would go to Kumaraswamy’s brother HD Revanna. The remaining plum portfolios of power, irrigation, Bengaluru Urban and education would go to the Congress.
Strongman DK Shivakumar may retain the Power ministry even as senior Congress leaders are reportedly jostling of key portfolios.
A formal announcement of the portfolios is expected to be made after senior leaders of the Congress led by K C Venugopal would meet Deve Gowda. From the JD(S) side, party secretary general Danish Ali, who negotiated the deal in Delhi, will brief HDK and senior leaders.
Sources in the Congress said that the deal is not a plain vanilla formula and that the JD(S) would be put on tight leash till 2019. But after 2109, if the Congress fares well, the JD(S) may have to vacate the CM chair in favour of the Congress.
The Congress also did not want to give an impression that it is not accommodative. The message it wanted to send out from Karnataka is that only a united opposition can take on the two-man BJP army of Modi and Shah. And for that, sacrifice is a must even if it means a temporary loss of face.