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HD Kumaraswamy takes oath as Karnataka CM, opposition leaders present in show of strength

The BJP meanwhile observes 'black day' against the JD(S)-Congress combine

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DNA Web Team

Updated: May 23, 2018, 06:33 PM IST

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday expressed their willingness to work together with HD Kumaraswamy, who took oath as Karnataka Chief Minister on Wednesday.

“We've come here to witness the swearing-in of HD Kumaraswamy and express our solidarity to him. In the future, we'll work together to protect and promote national interest. We're here to strengthen all regional parties,” they told reporters in Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party (SP) Chief Akhilesh Yadav also arrived in Bengaluru to take part in the oath-taking ceremony of Kumaraswamy.

Among the confirmed attendees at the swearing-in are United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan, Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and son of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav will also be present to witness Kumaraswamy's swearing-in.

Other notable guests include the founder of Rashtriya Lok Dal, Ajit Singh (also an ex-Union Minister), actor-turned-politician and founder of Makkal Needhi Maiam, Kamal Haasan.

Meanwhile the BJP today observed a 'black day' against the Congress-JDS government headed by HD Kumaraswamy ahead of its swearing-in, and gave a call to the "sidelined" Congress leaders in the new coalition to join the saffron party.

The BJP warned that it would hold a statewide 'bandh' if the new coalition government fails to fulfill its election promises.

Addressing the party workers who had gathered in large numbers to stage a demonstration near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Anand Rao Circle, BJP state chief B S 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?," said Yeddyurappa.

He also gave a call to Congress leaders, who felt offended for being sidelined in the new scheme of things in the coalition government, to join the BJP.

"Congress leaders must wake up. Those who felt cheated can come to BJP. If there is any party, which has faith in democracy, it is BJP. Let us build Karnataka as a model state. I flay this coalition government," said Yeddyurappa.

Slamming the BJP for observing the "black day", JDS leader Kumaraswamy said, "Having no concern for public is BJP's style of functioning. Their politics revolved around misleading people by organising events like black day, some kind of Yatra and fomenting passions. You cannot expect anything better from them."

Yeddyurappa had stepped down as Karnataka chief minister within three days of assuming office after failing to muster enough numbers, without facing the floor test on May 19.

The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in the assembly elections, with a fractured mandate.

With Yeddyurappa failing to take the floor test, the Congress and JD(S) claiming the support of 117 MLAs was invited to form the government by Governor Vajubhai Vala.

Former deputy chief minister R Ashok, MP Shobha Karandlaje and BJP leader Jaggesh also participated in the protest.

Ministers in new government

Karnataka Congress president G Parameshwara will be sworn-in as the deputy chief minister, AICC general secretary in-charge of the state K C Venugopal said on Tuesday.

Congress's Ramesh Kumar, a former minister, will be the next Assembly speaker, while the deputy speaker's post will go to the JD(S), Venugopal told PTI.

The first task for Kumaraswamy would be a smooth expansion of his Council of Ministers, as the Congress would want to have a big share in the ministerial pie as it has more than double the number of MLAs the JD(S) has.

The Congress would have 22 ministers and JD(S) 12, Venugopal  said, adding that they would be sworn-in after the floor test slated for Friday.

The Congress has 78 lawmakers in the Lower House against the 37 of the JD(S).

A section of Lingayat MLAs of the Congress wanted a person from their community to be the deputy chief minister as Kumaraswamy belongs to another politically influential caste, the Vokkaligas.

However, Rahul Gandhi approved the name of Dalit leader G Parameshwara for the post, Venugopal said.

D K Shivakumar, another Vokkaliga leader of the Congress, who emerged as a key figure in keeping the party MLAs together before the trust vote, was also a contender for the deputy chief minister's chair, but the party high-command opted for Parameshwara.

The JD-S's chief minister-designate said portfolio distribution would be discussed the day after tomorrow and a coordination committee would be formed to facilitate smooth functioning of the coalition.

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