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JD(S), BJP form coalition Government in Karnataka

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THE NEW OCCUPANT: Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy before the swearing-in ceremony in front of the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Friday. Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar
THE NEW OCCUPANT: Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy before the swearing-in ceremony in front of the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Friday. Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar

S. Rajendran

Kumaraswamy sworn in Chief Minister, Yediyurappa Deputy Chief Minister

Coalition agrees to share power for the remaining 40 months on the Jammu and Kashmir modelConstitution of a full-fledged Ministry to take timeVote of confidence on February 8

BANGALORE:Janata Dal (S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yediyurappa were on Friday sworn in Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka by Governor T.N. Chaturvedi. This ended the fortnight-long political uncertainty in the State. The swearing-in took place on the flight of stairs of the Vidhana Soudha here.

Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Yediyurappa took the oath of office and secrecy in the name of god amid rejoicing by a large gathering.

The coalition partners have agreed to share power for the remaining 40 months of the 12th Assembly on the Jammu and Kashmir model. They will hold the office of Chief Minister by rotation (20 months each). It is for the first time the BJP has come to power in south India.

BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, who played a key role in the formation of the new Government, were present.

The outgoing Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, was the lone Congress leader present. His gesture was appreciated by many in the gathering. The rest of the leadership stayed away as the Congress is yet to come to terms with the loss of power.

Deve Gowda in Delhi

The most conspicuous absentee was H.D. Deve Gowda. The former Prime Minister left for New Delhi to attend a meeting of the national executive and, true to his word, refused to bless the new line-up. However, members of Mr. Kumaraswamy's family attended the ceremony.

Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Yediyurappa said the constitution of a full-fledged Ministry would take time. It was likely to be done before the end of this month. Under the power-sharing arrangement, the departments held by the Congress in the previous regime will vest with the JD (S) and those held by the JD (S) will now go to the BJP.

Speaker Krishna will retain his office.

Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Yediyurappa later announced that the new Government would seek the vote of confidence on February 8. Confident of support from the MLAs of the two parties, he is not going to issue a whip, Mr. Kumaraswamy said. The two leaders also called on the Governor later in the day.

Blessings refused

Special Correspondent reports: Hours before the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Kumaraswamy went to Mr. Gowda's residence to seek his blessings but the latter was unmoved and refrained from holding any discussion.

Mr. Gowda told The Hindu that his son tried to seek his blessings when he was on his way to the airport. "I told him that I cannot compromise on my principles and he should not force me in the matter. I told him what I had told the party legislators on Thursday: you can go your way and I will go my way."

Mr. Kumaraswamy later said he was confident of convincing his father by putting in a good performance. He also called on the former Deputy Chief Minister, M.P. Prakash, and Minister P.G.R. Sindhia and requested them to join his Government. The two, however, said they would remain with Mr. Gowda.

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