BENGALURU: After haggling for over a week, Congress and JD (S) leaders may soon come to an understanding over sharing of key portfolios in the coalition government. Their next big challenge will be the formation of coordination committee that will play a crucial role of ensuring cordial relations between the two coalition partners.
Highly placed sources in Congress told The New Indian Express that they have agreed to form a nine-member committee, which will have five leaders from the Congress and four from the JD(S). The contentious issue, however, is deciding on the head of the committee. The Congress is said to be insisting on making former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as head of the committee, while the JD(S) is particular that it should be headed by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad or AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal.
The committee consisting of leaders from both the parties, including Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will oversee implementation of common minimum programmes, which will be worked out based both the parties manifestos. Also, any major policy decision to be taken by the government has to be discussed in the committee. With a strong leader like Siddaramaiah as its head, the committee can emerge as a parallel power centre in the state.
“The JD (S) leaders have made it clear to Congress high command that the coordination committee has to be headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad or KC Venugopal. Even some senior Congress leaders in the state are against making Siddaramaiah as the head of the committee,” sources said.
However, the Congress is said to be insisting on former CM’s name and senior leaders are expected to take up the issue with JD (S) supremo HD Deve Gowda after ministry formation process is over. For them, the priority now is to ensure formation of the ministry without any major hassles.
According to a JD (S) leader, their party will not oppose Congress’s decision to name anyone as the head of the committee. “Our party leaders may suggest some names, but it will not oppose if Congress decides to go with any other leader. Though they criticised each other during elections, Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah share cordial relations now,” he added.
However, not everyone in JD(S) and Congress camps agree with that view. Even for smaller issues, senior Congress leaders in the state are said to be contacting the JD(S) leadership through its central leaders like Venugopal.