Bengaluru: A JD(S)-Congress coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy was sworn-in on Wednesday in Karnataka at a ceremony attended by a galaxy of opposition leaders and chief ministers.
Kumaraswamy, the third son of JD(S) supremo and former PM HD Deve Gowda, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at 4:30 pm in front of the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the government in Bengaluru. A huge stage had been erected in front of the majestic stone building for the ceremony.
Karnataka Congress president G Parameshwara took oath as the deputy chief minister and Congress' Ramesh Kumar, a former minister, is the new Assembly speaker. The Congress will have 22 ministers and JD(S) 12 in Kumaraswamy's Cabinet. The floor test is slated for Friday.
Kumaraswamy was the second CM o take oath in Karnataka within a week, after Yeddyurappa stepped down without facing the floor test on May 19 in the face of an imminent defeat.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy has already indicated that there won't be a rotational arrangement with the Congress for the post of the CM. "No such talks have taken place," he had told reporters on Sunday. There were reports in a section of the media about both parties heading the government for 30 months each on rotation, similar to the 20:20 months power-sharing agreement in 2006 with the BJP.
The JD(S) and the Congress had fought a bitter electoral battle in the state, particularly in the old Mysuru region. Kumaraswamy has conceded that running the coalition government for the next five years would be a "big challenge" for him, as per PTI.
Who all attended:
In a development that could plant a seed for a broad-based anti-BJP platform before the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal and Pinarayi Vijayan, her counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Kerala, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah. BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav were among those who attended the coronation of Kumaraswamy.
DMK leader MK Stalin, who was also expected to be present, cancelled his Bengaluru visit due to the violence in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.
BJP boycotts Kumaraswamy's swearing-in:
The saffron party boycotted oath-taking ceremony of Kumaraswamy and observed a 'anti-popular mandate day' to protest the formation of the coalition government.
Senior BJP leaders held protest in Bengaluru, while its workers in black attire held demonstrations in districts. Addressing the party workers who had gathered in large numbers near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Anand Rao Circle, BJP state chief Yeddyurappa condemned the coalition government as "an opportunistic alliance."
"There is a farm loan of Rs 53,000 crore. You have said you will waive all the loans. Let us see whether you will actually waive all the farm loans. If you fail, we will observe a bandh all over the state," he said. The state BJP chief said the Congress should immediately distance itself from the JDS or else the dream of Congress-free India will be a reality soon. "Congress has lost its base in the state. With whom will the Congress go tomorrow? Will you go with Kumaraswamy?," Yeddyurappa said.
Results of Karnataka Assembly elections:
The JD(S) fought the May 12 Assembly elections in alliance with the BSP and joined hands with the Congress after a fractured verdict on May 15. The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, while the Congress was next with 78 and the JD(S) followed with 37. BSP has one MLA and two seats went to Independents. The newly-formed alliance has claimed support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member House with an effective strength of 221.
The three-day-old BJP government in Karnataka had collapsed on Saturday, minutes before the scheduled trust vote, with CM BS Yeddyurappa resigning. It was his shortest stint in power. Yeddyurappa became the CM for the first time for seven days in 2007. He became the CM for the second time when the BJP formed its first government in Karnataka in 2008. Yeddyurappa was at the helm of the state for over three years before he was made to quit following indictment by the Lokayukta in an alleged mining scam.