Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is all set to skip the swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy as the new CM of Karnataka where scores of opposition parties leaders will gather in a bid to send a message that they are united and ready to face the BJP in next year’s general elections. KCR had, however, on Tuesday met the Janata Dal (Secular) leader in Bengaluru and congratulated him. KCR’s office said that the CM will miss the event due to ‘important engagements’.
There are reports doing the rounds that KCR was unwilling to share the stage with Congress and some of the rival leaders. The Telangana Chief Minister was among the first leaders who had called for an alliance of like-minded parties minus the Congress and BJP. He had also met several regional parties leaders in last few months in a bid to give a shape to his proposal. But JD(S)’ decision to forge a post-poll alliance with the Congress has put him in a spot.
Other leaders who will skip Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in include Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and DMK working president MK Stalin. According to reports, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is also said to skip the mega event. Patnaik doesn’t want to be seen on the wrong side of the Modi government, and has therefore decided to give the event a miss. Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in is seen as the first opportunity by the opposition to showcase the unity and strength of the anti-Modi bloc ahead of 2019 polls.
Patnaik, however, is likely to send his representative. Stalin was slated to visit Bengaluru today for the grand event but he had to cancel the plan in view of the anti-Sterlite protest in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.
Leaders who will attend the swearing-in of Kumaraswamy and his deputy Congress’ G Parameshwar include UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress national president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, former UP CMs Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, among others.
CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury has also been invited to join the opposition camp on the occasion. Besides, several prominent leaders from the opposition parties are expected to be present at the Vidhan Soudha where Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Kumaraswamy (58).
Meanwhile, the BJP’s state unit has given a call to protest across the state today against the formation of the JD(S) and Congress coalition government. In a statement issued here last evening, party spokesman S Shantaram accused the JD(S) and Congress of hijacking the people’s mandate. “They have formed an unholy alliance to form a coalition government on Wednesday, we are observing the occasion as the ‘anti-people’s mandate day’ across the state,” he said.
Governor Vajubhai Vala had on Saturday invited the Congress-JD(S) coalition to form the government after the single largest party BJP failed to prove majority in the Assembly. The BJP has 104 MLAs where the Congress and JD(S)+ have 78 and 38 MLAs, respectively. The Karnataka Assembly has 224 chairs.