NEW DELHI: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi assured each other that their alliance in the southern state was “intact” and would continue beyond the 2019 polls.
According to sources, Kumaraswamy, who along with the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh had met the family of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is on a dharna, on Saturday, explained the matter to Gandhi when he met him in the morning.
The four Opposition chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee, N Chandrababu Naidu, and Pinarayi Viajayan, extending support to Kejriwal, from whom the Congress has kept its distance, was interpreted in political circles as the regional parties forging unity for the 2019 polls while sidelining the grand old party.
“Both Gandhi and Kumaraswamy noted that their alliance in Karnataka was intact and positive. This alliance would continue beyond 2019,” said a source privy to the meeting.
On his part, Rahul extended “full support” to the JD-S leader, the sources said, adding that the two leaders discussed the pending Cabinet berths, coordination issues and the finalisation of the common minimum programme to guide the coalition government.
“A five-member panel will prepare the draft CMP, which will then be approved by the coordination committee headed by former chief minister Siddaramaiah,” a senior Congress leader said.
On the remaining Cabinet berths from the Congress quota, sources said it was for the grand old party to decide. Recently, Congress veteran MB Patil had petitioned Gandhi to look after his interests as he was feeling left out.
Ever since Kumaraswamy was sworn in on May 23, the Congress-JD-S alliance has witnessed intense lobbying over Cabinet berths.