Karnataka got its second chief minister in less than a week, on Wednesday, May 23, with JD (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy sworn in the state’s 24th CM in the ceremony on the premises of the Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru.
Congress leader G Parameshwara, a Dalit, was sworn in as the deputy chief minister. No second deputy CM was sworn in, ending speculation on a Lingayat being accommodated to assuage the powerful community.
Kumaraswamy leads the Congress-JD (S) coalition formed after the assembly poll results on May 15 threw up a fractured mandate for the 224-member Vidhan Soudha. He replaces BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa, who resigned after being in office for three days when he failed to get the numbers ahead of the floor test that was scheduled for May 19.
As per the understanding reached between Congress and JD(S), the Congress, which had declared “unconditional support” to a coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy, gets the post of deputy chief minister, Assembly Speaker and 22 of the state’s 34 ministerial berths. The JD (S), which bagged just 37 seats in the assembly polls against the Congress’ 78, will get 12 ministerial berths and the post of the Vidhan Souidha deputy speaker.
Congress’s Ramesh Kumar, a former minister, will be the next Assembly speaker.
The coalition partners are expected to finalise the names of their ministerial candidates within the next two days, on May 25, when Kumaraswamy is set to face the customary floor test. Congress- and JD(S) are hopeful of clearing it, fending off evident efforts by the BJP to poach their legislators.
The ceremony witnessed a show of strength of sorts by non-NDA parties.
In attendance at Kumaraswamy and Parameshwara’s swearing-in ceremony were Opposition stalwarts like the chief minister-designate’s father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Andhra chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party recently ended its alliance with the BJP, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his political arch rival and west Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, RJD leader and Lalu Prasad’s son Tejasvi Yadav among others.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, who together had moved swiftly after the Karnataka verdict to stitch an alliance with the JD (S) in his bid to keep the BJP away from power in the state, were also present at the occasion.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao extended his greetings to Kumaraswamy and said that he will not be attending the ceremony as he has Collector’s conference in Hyderabad today.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, too, offered his wishes and expressed his inability to attend the ceremony as all his party leaders are busy in Palghar Lok Sabha by-elections.
On the other hand, BJP leaders boycotted the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday and, rather, were on a state-wide protest against the “unholy alliance” between the Congress and JD (S) and praying for its “imminent fall”.