All is well between Congress, JD(S)? Kumaraswamy meets Rahul as Karnataka waits for full cabinet
New Delhi, June 18: On Monday, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the national capital. A photograph of the meeting between the two politicians was shared by news agency, ANI. Both Kumaraswamy and Rahul looked happy together as they posed in front of cameras shaking each other's hands.
Giving company to Kumaraswamy and Rahul were secretary general of Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), Danish Ali, and All India Congress Committee general secretary, KC Venugopal.
"#Delhi: Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy met Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Danish Ali from JD(S) & KC Venugopal from Congress also present," tweeted ANI.
The meeting between Rahul and Kumaraswamy was the third such one between them after the Congress and the JD(S) decided to forge an alliance more than a month ago, as the Karnataka Assembly election results threw up a fractured mandate.
After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to get the support of at least 112 MLAs in the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly to rule the state, the Congress-JD(S) alliance came to power in Karnataka. The journey of the coalition government has seen several ups and downs in a period of a month, as the southern state is yet to get its full cabinet leaving the administration in a limbo.
Initially, only Kumaraswamy and deputy CM from the Congress, G Parameshwara, took the oath of office. Thereafter, several rounds of discussions took place between the Congress and the JD(S) to distribute the ministerial berths among themselves.
Ahead of allocating the cabinet berths, the Congress and the JD(S) saw open rebellion and great deal of lobbying by MLAs of both the parties. On June 6, 25 ministers belonging to both the parties were inducted in the Kumaraswamy cabinet.
However, six cabinet berths are yet to be filled. The Congress, which is holding the strings of the government because it has 80 MLAs against the JD(S)' 37, is in no hurry to fill the vacant posts.
Earlier, when questions were raised over delay in the cabinet formation, Kumaraswamy told reporters that he was at the "mercy" of the Congress and not the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka as his government had not received the full mandate which his party had sought in the Assembly elections.
The CM's comment created a huge controversy which was seen as an "insult" to the voters of the state. Later, Kumaraswamy apologised for his comment, but the damage was already done as it became pretty clear that the CM had to always seek permission from the high commands in the grand old party before taking any decision.
The issue of farm loan waiver is still pending even after the JD(S) promised to give relief to the farmers immediately after forming the government in the state. The BJP, which is currently in a wait and watch mode, had said that the Congress-JD(S) alliance was "opportunistic".
Kumaraswamy came to Delhi to attend a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CMs of all the states hosted by the Niti Aayog on Sunday. Before the meeting, Kumaraswamy along with the CMs of three other states-- West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh's Chandrababu Naidu and Kerala's Pinarayi Vijayan--expressed their solidarity to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who and his party members of the AAP are protesting against Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal over the issue of alleged strike of the IAS officers.
Earlier, in May too, Kumaraswamy had met Rahul and his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the national capital before his swearing-in ceremony. He also touched the former Congress president's feet during his previous visit which had angered many in Karnataka.
During Kumarswamy's swearing-in ceremony, leaders of several opposition parties came together in Bengaluru to showcase the unity and strength of the anti-BJP forces ahead of the big General elections in 2019.