If the new Karnataka government’s swearing-in ceremony after the Congress party’s emphatic election win wanted to send out a message of a united opposition, it may have to do so with some of its top faces missing, String Reveals has learnt.
According to Congress sources, invitations have not been sent to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Telangana counterpart KCR while West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee will be skipping the event because of prior engagements.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) boss Mayawati are not on the guest list as well, sources said.
Among those who have been invited are Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, D Raja and Sitaram Yechury of the Left, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan have also been invited.
The Congress’s Chief Ministers, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh, and Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu of Himachal Pradesh, have also been invited.
Amid preparations at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru for the ceremony set to take place at 12:30 pm on Saturday, Chief Minister-designate Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar flew to Delhi to discuss the delicate task of choosing ministers with the Congress leadership.
Selecting a cabinet that strikes a balance in representation from all communities, regions, factions and also from among the old and new generations of legislators is expected to be a major challenge for the party.
“We have come to invite our leaders for tomorrow… They had come and given their sweat and proper directions. So, I wanted to invite them personally. Later, we are discussing the cabinet formation,” Mr Shivakumar said.
He has said that leaders of the BJP and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) have also been invited to the swearing ceremony, stating that as public representatives, they too are part of the government machinery, news agency PTI reported.
Five days after the Congress’s election win in Karnataka and intense deliberation by the party’s leaders, a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party on Thursday formally elected Siddaramaiah as its leader, following which he staked his claim with the Governor.