Bengaluru: After almost a week of intense negotiations, the coalition government of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka on Friday announced the division of portfolios between the two partners, mostly skewed in favour of the regional party.
The coalition partners also announced their pre-poll alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the modalities and details of which are yet to be worked out.
“We have given the finance portfolio to the JD(S) in line with the directions of (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi," said K.C. Venugopal, member of Parliament and general secretary in-charge of Karnataka for the Congress.
The decisions were taken in the larger interest of the country, he said.
The finance portfolio had become the biggest bone of contention between the two parties.
Venugopal debunked talk of the Congress ceding ground to its coalition partner.
“There is no question of conceding," he said, adding that portfolios were allocated after cordial discussions.
According to the division of portfolios, the Congress, the bigger partner who agreed to the chief minister being from the JD(S), got 22 of the 34 ministries, including the post of deputy chief minister. The JD(S) got 12 ministries, including the chief minister’s post after the two parties moved swiftly to form a post-poll alliance and deny the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which emerged as the single-largest party in the 12 May assembly polls, a chance at power.
The Congress is seen to be making compromises, as losing another state to the BJP would hamper its hopes of a national revival in 2019.
Though the Congress has been trying to bounce back after its debacle in the 2014 general elections, the party is relying on regional outfits to propel its chances by making compromises like the one in Karnataka.
Though there were reports that the two parties would share the top job at a later date, the Congress clarified that it would back H.D. Kumaraswamy for the entire five-year tenure.
The swearing-in of the ministers will take place at 2 pm on Wednesday.
Venugopal also announced the formation of a coalition coordination and monitoring committee that will meet at least once a month. Former chief minister and Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah will chair the committee while JD(S) general secretary Danish Ali will be its convenor.
The other members of this committee are chief minister Kumaraswamy, deputy chief minister G. Parameshwara and Venugopal.
The coordination committee will help in the “smooth functioning" of the government, Venugopal said.
The Congress and JD(S) said that a common agenda for governance based on the manifesto of both the parties will be prepared and presented to the people of the state at the earliest.