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At HDK’s Swearing-in, Opposition’s Display of Might, Several Interesting Encounters and a Warning to BJP

The show of strength by the galaxy of national leaders and regional satraps is being seen as a strong signal to the BJP about the possibility of formation of a broad-based front to take on the BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha polls next year.

Updated:May 23, 2018, 11:56 PM IST
Bengaluru: HD Kumaraswamy, perceived to be the kingmaker before the Karnataka election, was on Wednesday sworn in as the state’s chief minister at the head of a JD(S)-Congress coalition government as a host of regional and national leaders looked on.

He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at a grand ceremony in the Vidhana Soudha complex, while state Congress chief and prominent Dalit leader G Parameshwara took oath as the deputy chief minister after days of power broking between the two parties.

Other members of the council of ministers will be inducted after the Kumaraswamy government wins the trust vote on Friday. Attired in the traditional "dhoti" and white shirt, Kumaraswamy took the oath in the name of God and the people of "Kannada Nadu".

Karnataka swearing-in ceremony
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, newly-sworn in Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy cm G Parameshwara at the swearing-in ceremony.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, N Chandrababu Naidu, and Pinarayi Vijayan, her counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala respectively, were present for the ceremony.

Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, BSP chief Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, who have struck an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and socialist leader Sharad Yadav were also in attendance.

On the stage, there were several awaited encounters. Foes-turned-friends Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati came together on the stage for the first time and were all smiles, and arch rivals Mamata Banerjee and Sitaram Yechury shook hands.

There was also a heartwarming meeting between Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi. A cheerful Mayawati held smiling Sonia’s hand during the entire duration they were together and the former Congress president seemed pleased enough to gently place her head against Mayawati’s. Rahul too was welcomed and the three then waved to the crowd.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had her one hand thrown around Mayawati’s shoulders and pulled in Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu with the other to the delight of the crowd.

maya sonia
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi with Mayawati in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

akhilesh maya
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati wave to the crowd at HD Kumaraswamy's swearing in ceremony.

Post the swearing-in ceremony, the entire opposition stood together raising hands skywards in an attempt to send a message to the BJP of the shape of things to come before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Ahead of the swearing-in, there were several breakaway meetings between opposition leaders. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, who met briefly, had pitched for all regional parties to come together for the development of a federal setup in the country. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also met Naidu along with CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

The show of strength by the galaxy of national leaders and regional satraps is being seen as a strong signal to the BJP about the possibility of formation of a broad-based front to take on the BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The representatives of the political parties, which were present at the podium, together form more than 40% of the vote share which these parties got during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in which BJP came first with 31% of the vote share. The BJP’s vote share then had translated into 285 seats for them. Currently BJP has 274 Lok Sabha seats.

This arithmetic also has the BJP worried and the party boycotted the ceremony and observed a "Black Day", during which it held statewide protests against the new coalition government, which it called "unholy".

After the show of strength on stage, the JD(S)-Congress coalition will now have to prove its strength on the floor of the Assembly on Friday. Names of the members in the Karnataka cabinet is still kept under wraps to ensure that any disgruntlements do not prove costly.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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