Deve Gowda says not opposed to Cong’s Shivakumar being made minister

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Bengaluru: Janata Dal (Secular) supremo HD Deve Gowda on Tuesday dismissed reports that he was opposed to senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar’s induction into the JD(S)-Congress coalition government headed by his son HD Kumaraswamy that will take oath on Wednesday.
Noting that it was for the Congress to decide who from their party should be made deputy chief minister or minister, the former prime minister said he was only interested in the smooth functioning of the government.
“I have heard media reports that I am against DK Shivakumar’s induction into the ministry. I want to clarify that who should be made chief minister, deputy chief minister, who should be given what portfolio from the Congress… I will not interfere on this issue,” Gowda told reporters in Bengaluru.
“What I want is smooth functioning of this government. Other than that I will not be interfering into any other thing,” he said.
The clarification from Gowda came amid reports about his opposition to Shivakumar and Lingayat leader MB Patil’s induction into the ministry.
“I have nothing to do with it, I’m not interested. It is left to them (Congress), why should I interfere?” he asked.
Even as it was still not clear about who will be inducted into the ministry on Wednesday, hectic parleys are on within the Congress for ministerial berths, especially for the post of deputy chief minister.
Though Congress sources suggest that Parameshwara, a Dalit, is the front runner for the deputy CM’s post, reports said there is growing demand from party leaders in north Karnataka that the position be given to a Lingayat from the region, as the CM post is held by a Vokkaliga from the southern part of the state.
Shivakumar, another strong Vokkaliga leader and considered an arch rival of the Gowda family, is also said to be the contender for the deputy CM’s post.
He had emerged as a key man in the political drama that preceded the formation of the Congress-JD(S) alliance as he was entrusted with the task of keeping his party’s MLAs together in the face of alleged poaching attempts by the BJP before the floor test on May 19.
Meanwhile, the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha, the apex body of Veerashaiva-Lingayat faith, has demanded that the Congress high command makes its national president Shamanur Shivashankarappa the deputy CM.