S. Rajendran and Nagesh Prabhu

Final decision to be taken in consultation with Deve Gowda

JD (S) legislators for Kumaraswamy as Deputy CM

The party will have 18 Ministers in the Cabinet

Bangalore: Three names have emerged in the Janata Dal (Secular) legislature party for the post of Deputy Chief Minister — State unit president N. Merajuddin Patel, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and former Public Works Minister H.D. Revanna.

A final decision is expected to be taken in consultation with the former Prime Minister and president of the Janata Dal (Secular) H.D. Deve Gowda, who stayed away from the government formation exercise. He is yet to reconcile with the fact that the Janata Dal (Secular) has tied up with the Bharatiya Janata Party yet again.

The present understanding between the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP has been crafted by Mr. Kumaraswamy and Chief Minister-designate B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Mr. Gowda is said to be keen on Mr. Merajuddin Patel getting the post, since it would help the Janata Dal (Secular) in consolidating minority support.

Legislators of the Janata Dal (Secular), who stood by the party at the time of the recent crisis when a split looked imminent, have requested Mr. Kumaraswamy to take over as Deputy Chief Minister. They have told Mr. Kumaraswamy that there was nothing wrong in a former Chief Minister taking over as Deputy Chief Minister.

Not keen

Mr. Kumaraswamy told The Hindu that he was not keen on the post as he had served as Chief Minister.

These Janata Dal (Secular) legislators have also told Mr. Kumaraswamy that if he were not inclined to take up the post, he should nominate Mr. Patel and not Mr. Revanna, who has the backing of the Gowda family apart from a few legislators of his home district Hassan.

Former Transport Minister N. Cheluvarayaswamy, whose name initially figured in the list of contenders, has backed out. He has promised to abide by the decision of the party high command.

According to Mr. Kumaraswamy, the Janata Dal (Secular) will have 18 Ministers compared to 16 it had in the previous regime. With the optimum size of the council of ministers fixed at 34 following the implementation of the recommendations of the administrative reforms commission and given the nature of the Janata Dal (Secular) demand, the BJP can have only 16 Ministers.

Not open to negotiation

“This is fixed and not open to negotiation,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said.

Mr. Patel told The Hindu that a meeting of the Janata Dal (Secular) legislature party would be held on Sunday.

A decision on who would be Deputy Chief Minister is expected to be announced at the meeting.

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