Congress leadership would take a call on who would be its deputy chief minister on Tuesday.
Karnataka Chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular on Monday promised a stable government in the state and a 'long-term relationship' with the Congress, as he invited top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to his swearing-in in Bengaluru on May 23.
According to highly-placed sources, the Congress-JD-S combine will have a coordination committee in place to ensure smooth functioning of the coalition government in Karnataka and the assembly speaker will be from the Congress.
The coordination committee will have five-six members who will ensure smooth functioning of the coalition government.
The top leadership of the two parties decided to make a new beginning leaving behind the past, when they had come together and fallen apart, and vowed to have 'a long-term relationship'.
The sources said the Congress leadership would take a call on who would be its deputy chief minister on Tuesday, when the leaders of the two parties would meet in Bengaluru to work out modalities of power sharing in the southern state.
The sources add that only a few ministers were likely to take oath initially on May 23 along with the chief minister and other modalities would be worked out in the coming days.
However, the nominations for the Speaker's post would be filed the same day and the Congress has staked its claim to the post, it being the larger party.
Kumaraswamy was in the national capital on Monday to express his gratitude to the United Progressive Alliance chairperson and the Congress chief for supporting the formation of a JD-S-led government in Karnataka.
He also invited Sonia and Rahul for his swearing-in.
According to the sources, the Congress has mooted two deputy chief ministers for the numerically strong party in order to strike a balance with the JD(S) but the regional party is believed to be not in favour of this proposal.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief G Parameshwara is among the frontrunners for the deputy chief minister's post.
Kumaraswamy, who will be sworn-in as chief minister on Wednesday for the second time in 12 years, flew into the capital on Monday afternoon and began his engagements with a meeting with pre-poll ally Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. BSP bagged one seat.
Kumaraswamy will take oath as chief minister of Karnataka on May 23 at 4.30 pm on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat.
Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Kumaraswamy, a government release said.
The JD-S leader will visit Dharmashala and Sringeri on Tuesday to seek the blessings of Lord Manjunath, Sringeri Sharada Devi and the present Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Teertha, the release said.
Rahul confirmed his presence at the swearing-in ceremony. Chief Ministers of non-Bharatiya Janata Party states and head of regional parties, including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, are also expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury would also share the stage with leaders of the Congress and other parties at the swearing-in ceremony.
Yechury, who has been personally invited by Kumaraswamy, would travel to Bengaluru to attend the oath-taking ceremony.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan will also register his presence.
During his 20-minute meeting with Sonia and Rahul, Kumaraswamy is understood to have discussed the nitty-gritty of cabinet formation on the number of ministerial berths the Congress and the JD-S would get.
The meeting took place at Rahul's Tughlak Lane residence.
The sources said during the meeting Kumaraswamy promised to provide good governance in Karnataka and said he would seeking Rahul's advice on all important issues. The Congress chief also extended his full support to the JD-S chief for the 'long-term relationship'.
"There is no bargain. We will cordially work out things. We must work together. I am here to take their (Congress leaders') advice," said Kumaraswamy when asked by newsmen ahead of the meeting how the Congress and the JD-S will address the issue of ministry formation.
"We are going to give a stable government. All these issues are not yet discussed. We have not discussed any future course of action," he said.
After the meeting, Kumaraswamy told reporters he had invited both Sonia and Rahul for the swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru and they have agreed to come.
K C Venugopal, AICC in-charge of Karnataka, was also present at the meeting. Kumaraswamy is expected to take the floor test within 24 hours after being sworn-in.
Both Congress and JD-S MLAs will remain confined to their hotels till the floor test, according to reports from Bengaluru.
Kumaraswamy was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala to take the reins of power after the three-day Bharatiya Janata Party government collapsed last Saturday with B S Yeddyurappa, unable to muster the required number for a majority, stepping down as the chief minister without facing the floor test in the state assembly.
The May 12 Karnataka assembly polls threw up a hung verdict with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats.
The Congress was next with 78 and the JD-S followed with 37. The BSP has one MLA and two seats went to Independents.
Meanwhile, at an event in Bengaluru, Parameshwara said difficult times were ahead, but there was a need to stop the BJP from coming to power in the southern state.
He said he understood the sentiments of many who were averse to a tie-up between the Congress and JD-S.
However, the need to keep communal forces away from power made the Congress lend support to JD-S, Parameshwara said.
"I do understand the sentiments of many people that we should not have gone with the JD-S. But there was a need to stop the BJP from coming to power again in Karnataka. Keeping this in mind, our seniors took a decision to support the JD-S. We all must accept their decision," he said.
"We may see difficult times ahead. We are visualising the challenges ahead, but we need to bear all the hardship to build a strong party," the KPCC chief said.
IMAGES: JD-S leader and Karnataka chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy meets former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the latter's residence in New Delhi on Monday. Photographs: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo