CRACKS IN THE ALLIANCE: Kumaraswamy won’t be CM for 5 years; Congress leader fires salvo

BENGALURU: In a twist to the unfolding political drama in Karnataka, Congress leader and deputy CM G Parameshwara on Thursday said the party had taken no decision yet to support H D Kumaraswamy as CM for the full five year-term.

“The issue is yet to be discussed and finalised. Our immediate aim is to pass the floor test, allocate portfolios and provide good administration. The modalities, including sharing the CM post, are yet to be worked out,” said Parameshwara who is also head of the state Congress.

His remark came in response to a question during his first press conference after taking over as deputy CM, and indicates that the fault-lines among the coalition partners, papered over in the effort to keep BJP out, might emerge earlier than anticipated.

The two parties are yet to hash out the vexed issue of who gets which portfolios, with Congress staking claim for the crucial ones as compensation for leaving the CM’s office for JD(S) despite having more MLAs.

Kumaraswamy, who is direly dependent on Congress for survival with just 37 lawmakers, had earlier ruled out the possibility of splitting the chief ministership with the coalition partner.

While addressing his first press conference after taking over as CM on Wednesday, he chose to be somewhat vague, limiting himself to saying: “Our only aim is to make this a model coalition. On my tenure and other modalities of government formation, we are yet to have a meeting.” Still, there were doubts as to whether he would be happy about being undercut publicly by his deputy on the very second day in office.

Political circles are unanimous that Congress will not rock the boat at least until the 2019 parliamentary elections for the fear that a split will work to BJP’s advantage.

Still, coming just a day after Congress played the central figure at a razzmatazz show where it brandished its willingness to be the mainstay of unity efforts among non-BJP players, Parameshwara’s forthrightness struck a jarring note.