Congress-JD(S) agree on portfolio share in Karnataka, announce alliance for 2019 polls

By Prarthana Mitra

Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress announced their portfolio-sharing deal for the coalition government in Karnataka on Friday, after days of negotiations and five rounds of talks in New Delhi since May 30.

In the presence of chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Congress leader K.C. Venugopal declared at a press conference, “We (Congress-JDS) have come to a conclusion regarding cabinet expansion and portfolio allocation. JD(S) will be holding the finance portfolio. Everything is settled.”

The particulars of the power-sharing arrangement were finalised late yesterday, wherein it was decided that Congress will get 22 ministerial berths and JD(S) will handle 12, with Home and Finance ministries respectively distributed between them.

The expansion of the ministry will take place on June 6, Kumaraswamy said. In addition, the two parties also announced their decision to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a united front of the pre-poll alliance.

To the victors belong the spoils

According to sources close to the development, it was rumoured on Thursday that JD(S) will keep the finance ministry and acquiesce control over home to Congress.

Among other key portfolios, the Congress gets industry, health, revenue, rural and urban development, and agriculture, besides housing, medical education, social welfare, forest and environment, labour, mines and geology, women and child welfare, food and civil supply.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is reportedly on board with the allocation and has conveyed the same to the leaders via telephonic conversation from the United States, where he is accompanying mother Sonia Gandhi for her medical check-up.

Besides finance and excise, the JD(S) gets control over information, GAD, intelligence, planning and statistics, PWD, power, cooperation, tourism, education, animal husbandry and transport.

The swearing-in ceremony for the new ministers is likely to be held next week.

…For now

The two parties are reported to have also held protracted negotiations not just on an agreeable distribution of ministerial portfolios but also to maintain seamless decision making when a coalition government is involved.

Although deliberations look positive so far, in as much as sufficient measures are being taken to uphold the semblance of a respectable alliance, there is enough cause for worry regarding the longevity and stability of the Kumaraswamy government. As both parties clamour to affix a common minimum programme and set up a coordination committee to oversee the bureaucratic processes, the allocations made this week may prove to be decisive in breaking or retaining the alliance in the long run.

Prarthana Mitra is a writer at Qrius

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