Bengaluru: The stage is set for government formation in Karnataka as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) have agreed to a broad power-sharing formula on Tuesday, a day ahead of the swearing-in of H.D. Kumaraswamy as chief minister.

The Congress’s state unit chief, G. Parameshwara, will be the deputy chief minister. The party will also get two-thirds of the ministerial berths.

“Out of the 34 ministries, 22 will be with the Congress and 12 including the CM will be with the JD(S)," K.C. Venugopal, Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, said in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Venugopal confirmed that Parameshwara, a key Dalit face of the party, will be sworn in with Kumaraswamy.

Senior Congress leader K.R. Ramesh Kumar is the party’s choice for the post of speaker, Venugopal said. Kumar, who served as the minister for health and family welfare in the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, has served as the speaker of the Karnataka assembly in the past as well.

The post of deputy speaker will go to the JD(S), Venugopal added.

All eyes are now set on how the portfolio distribution takes place. However, the decision on the rest of the ministries and portfolios will be taken after the floor test, which is likely to take place on Thursday.

Both the parties had officially dispelled reports of discord between its leaders over issues like portfolio distribution. The coalition is also forming a coordination committee to facilitate the smooth functioning of the government.

The oath-taking ceremony on Wednesday is likely to be a show of strength with top opposition leaders attending it.

Though Kumaraswamy has been given 15 days to prove his majority, the former chief minister has said that he will do so within 24 hours of assuming the chair.

In the recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections, the Congress won 78 seats while the JD(S) got 38, including one from its pre-poll ally, Bahujan Samaj Party. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single-largest party with 104 seats but could not muster up eight more legislators to get a simple majority of 112 of the 222 that went to the polls on 12 May.

Fearing a second attempt of poaching by the BJP, the Congress and the JD(S) are leaving nothing to chance and have confined all its legislators at luxury hotels and resorts within the city.

A. Narayana, a political analyst and faculty at the Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, says that irrespective of how the two parties have functioned so far or what the BJP does as an opposition party, “the threat of instability will always be there".

Narayana says that the BJP is not going to wait for things to turn bad between the coalition partners and may also try to get some legislators from the Congress and the JD(S) to resign and try to bring down the simple majority closer to what the party has won.

“Every possibility is credible enough to be a threat," he said.

The political developments in Karnataka are both reminiscent of past experiences of a coalition government between the two parties as well as prophetic of the times ahead for the state, which has not seen any party being voted back into power with a majority for decades.

Several representations have been sent to the alliance for various posts. This includes those by the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, a representative body of the Lingayat community that had openly opposed the decision of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government to give the community a religious minority status, has demanded that the post of deputy chief minister be given to its president Shamnur Shivashankarappa.

Another letter from the Lingayat coordination committee in Bidar has demanded that former water resources minister, M.B. Patil, who was seen leading the pro-separate religion movement from the Congress, be given the post of deputy chief minister.

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