Karnataka cabinet deal: JD(S) may keep finance, home ministry for Congress

The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka, which has been struggling to form the Cabinet because of a lack of consensus on portfolio allocation has reached a solution in which the JD(S) will get the finance ministry and the Congress will get home, according to people familiar with the developments.

The between the JD(S) brass and the state leadership of the Congress, with both sides arguing that yielding to the alliance partner at the start of the coalition government’s term would hurt their respective parties in the long run.

But the people cited above said the Congress had finally agreed to let JD(S) get finance, with the Congress getting home, heavy industries, energy, IT/BT, travel and education in return. The JD(S) is also likely to get the PWD, revenue and co-operative affairs ministries, they added.

Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s Cabinet is now likely to be sworn in over the weekend, once the Congress high command clears the list of prospective ministers.

Of the 34 possible ministerial positions in the state, the Congress will get 22, including deputy CM Parameshwara, who has already been sworn in, while the JD(S) will get 12.

“We did not want this to be the reason for further delay in Cabinet formation,” said a Congress leader who asked not to be named.

HT had reported on Wednesday that the central leaders of the Congress were willing to concede the finance portfolio to the JD(S), keeping in mind the need for broader Opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress and the JD(S) got into a surprise post-poll pact after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the largest party in the recent assembly elections in the state but failed to get a majority.