Congress Blinks, Kuaraswamy To Keep Finance Portfolio With Himself


New Delhi: Finance portfolio in the Karnataka government that has become a bone of contention between JD(S) and the Congress has been resolved with Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy likely to keep it with himself. The Congress later is said to have agreed to the demand of JD (S).

Sources said that it appears that Kumaraswamy’s father H D DeveGowda’s deft navigation is behind JD(S) winning the battle. Just a week ago when Kumaraswamy took oath as chief minister, he had told mediapersonsthat his father would not be doing any back-seat driving.

While Congress sources said the finance portfolio will not be a “sticking point”, the party would wait to see what other berths it gets. It was also indicated that the party did not want to prolong uncertainty over cabinet formation as it would spur speculation over a power tussle.

Sources said that all discussions between the two coalition partners were happening “at the top level” where it was reluctantly agreed by Congress to give the finance portfolio to JD (S), notwithstanding arguments by the former that during the 2004 and 2006 coalition governments in Karnataka, the portfolio was with the respective deputy chief ministers.

“Congress was told that the situation is different from 2004 and 2006 and hence those precedents cannot be cited now,’’ they added.

Congress was reminded by JD(S) over several rounds of meetings in New Delhi that it had offered unconditional support for five years when it agreed to form the government, sources said.

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