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Kumaraswamy takes oath as Karnataka CM amid show of unity by BJP’s rivals

Kumaraswamy took oath as the head of a Congress-JD(S) coalition government with G  Parameshwara as his deputy and will face a trust vote on Friday

india Updated: May 23, 2018 20:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent, Bengaluru
HD Kumaraswamy,G Parameshwara,Janata Dal Secular
Opposition leaders pose for photojournalists in Bengaluru after Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

HD Kumaraswamy was on Wednesday sworn in as the Chief Minister of a Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress party coalition government in Karnataka. Opposition leaders from across India used the occasion for a show of strength and solidarity in the run-up to general elections in 2019.

Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office to Kumaraswamy, the state’s 25th Chief Minister, at 4.30 p.m. on the grand steps of the state Secretariat in the presence of national and regional leaders from across the country.

Congress leader G Parameshwara took oath as the deputy chief minister. Both the leaders took oath in Kannada in the name of god, farmers and the people of the southern state. Other members of the council of ministers will be inducted after Kumaraswamy takes a trust vote on Friday.

Kumarawasmy said in a press conference after the ceremony that his Congress-JD(S) coalition government will work better than a single party government. He also announced that he would waive loans taken by farmers in Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy said the presence of leaders from all over country heralded a major change in the political situation in 2019. “They were not here to protect this government... this government will be protected by local Congress leaders and our JD(S) leaders,” he said .

A galaxy of national and regional leaders and Chief Ministers of some non-BJP states from across the country turned up for the ceremony. They held hands and posed for a photograph on the dais at the forecourt of the Vidhan Saudha in Bengaluru, the venue for the ceremony.

Among the prominent political leaders present on the huge dais were UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, BSP leader Mayawati, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, expelled Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly.

Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) and Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) were also present at the 10-minute swearing-in ceremony.

““Parties from all over India stand with you. May this be the first step towards ensuring BJP and RSS don’t steal elections,” Yechury said while tweeting his congratulations to Kumaraswamy.

Thousands of JD(S) and Congress workers and supporters from across the state, especially the Mysuru region thronged the venue braving the rain.

The BJP boycotted the ceremony and observed a “Black Day” during which it held statewide protests against the new coalition government. BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa condemned the coalition government as “an opportunistic alliance.”

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh tweeted their congratulations to Kumaraswamy and Parameshwara.

Shortly before the 4.30 p.m. schedule for the swearing in, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda was the first to reach the venue after which leaders and Chief Ministers from various parties trooped in.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi came together and both were seen talking animatedly with Mayawati. Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi held each other’s arms as Rahul watched them. Then it was the turn of Mamata Banerjee to approach Mayawati.

Ahead of the event, Banerjee and Naidu said that their participation in the ceremony was to strengthen the coming together of regional parties and they would not allow any obstacles to come in the way of these efforts.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

First Published: May 23, 2018 18:03 IST