JD(S) has got key revenue generation portfolios in Karnataka, but may have to give up its Lok Sabha ambitions.
After the bypoll meltdown, there is more bad news coming for the BJP, this time from Karnataka. Well ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Congress and JD(S) have decided to fight the Lok Sabha elections together. As a tradeoff, the Congress today gave up key revenue generation portfolios to the JD(S), its junior partner in Karnataka, in lieu of getting major chunk of seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had a long telephonic talk with JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda before the deal was struck on seat sharing pact for the 2019 general elections. Sources said that the JD(S) will give up part of its seats in its stronghold of Old Mysuru region to the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls while supporting the Congress and BSP in all other regions across the state.
In a nutshell, what Rahul Gandhi seems to have told Gowda is that ‘you take Karnataka, leave Delhi to us’.
In the bargain, the JD(S) got the big four portfolios of finance, public works department, excise and energy. The other big portfolios, to be bagged by the JD(S), include education, transport, co-operation and information departments.
These portfolios will give the JD(S) considerable control over revenue collection which comes via excise and transport department and expenditure which happens through PWD and energy departments.
The portfolios that the JD(S) has got under the deal also receive sizeable budgetary allocations every year.
Out of 34 portfolios, JD(S) will get 12 and 22 will go to the Congress. The major portfolios that the Congress will get include Home, Irrigation, Bengaluru City Development, Industry and Sugar Industry, Health, Revenue/Muzrai, Rural Development, Urban Development, agriculture, Housing and Medical Education.
Earlier in the day, representatives of both the parties met Governor Vajubhai Vala and sought a time for the swearing-in of the new ministers. The ceremony is likely to be in held next week, since Vala is travelling out of the State from Saturday.
At a press conference in Bengaluru, there was a lot of bonhomie between the Congress and the JD(S) when one-time enemies shook hands and hugged each other. The most outstanding moment came when former CM Siddaramaiah and present CM Kumraswamy, once bitter enemies, shook hands and smiled at each other, giving the message that all is well in Karnataka.
Addressing the media, Karnataka in charge of Congress K.C. Venugopal said a coordination committee would be set up with Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah, Kumarswamy, and JD(S) Secretary Danish Ali on board, beside himself.
The committee would be chaired by Siddaramaiah and Ali, the convenor. It would meet at least once a month, if not earlier.
“A common agenda for governance, based on the manifestos of both the parties, will be prepared and presented to people at the earliest. There will be two designated spokespersons, one from each party,” said Venugopal.