Siddaramaiah has clear edge over DK Shivakumar, Kharge working on power deal

Update: 2023-05-16 18:30 GMT
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge interacts with senior party leader Siddaramaiah at his residence on Tuesday. (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: The suspense over the name of Karnataka's CM continued for the fourth day amidst a series of meetings in the national capital. State unit chief D.K. Shivakumar and former CM, Kharge  Siddaramaiah are the frontrunners for the post. Insiders claim that after the observers -- Sushil Kumar Shinde, Jitendra Singh and Deepak Babaria -- submitted their report, it was clear that the majority of the MLAs preferred Siddaramaiah for the top post. As the hectic parleys continued throughout the day, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge met party leader Rahul Gandhi at the former’s residence to discuss the government's formation.

Sources say the formula being worked on is that Mr Siddaramaiah becomes the chief minister and Mr Shivakumar the deputy CM and there will be only one deputy chief minister. Mr Shivakumar will also retain the post of state unit chief. The proposal of a rotational chief minister has been rejected after seeing its effects in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The Congress president has met all the stakeholders in Karnataka. He has also sought suggestions from senior party functionaries. Now he is expected to consult former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Mr Gandhi before a final decision is made. The decision will most likely be announced in Bengaluru itself. Another round of meetings with stakeholders is expected soon. The party is keen to have the swearing-in done by Thursday.

The day began with Mr Shivakumar landing in Delhi while Mr Siddaramaiah was already camping here. Before leaving for Delhi, Mr Shivakumar said that the party is his mother and there was no question of his resigning from the organisation. In Delhi, he met his brother and Congress Lok Sabha MP D.K. Suresh. He also met the Congress president in the evening at about 4:30 pm for about 40 minutes on the issue of government formation.

After Mr Shivakumar left the residence of the party chief, Mr Siddaramaiah arrived to meet Mr Kharge at 6:30 pm. Mr Kharge has had several rounds of meetings with general secretary of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala and general secretary organisation K.C. Venugopal.

Both the CM hopefuls will be staying put in Delhi tomorrow as well. After meeting Mr Kharge, Mr Siddaramaiah also met Mr Venugopal and Mr Surjewala.

In the last four days, both the Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah camps have been flexing their muscles, demanding that their candidate should get the top post. The supporters of Mr Shivakumar say that he is a go-getter and under his presidency of the state unit, the party bagged 136 seats in the just concluded Assembly elections. They also claim that Mr Shivakumar is looking at the Lok Sabha elections, where the party wants to do well in the state.

Mr Siddaramaiah is an old war horse and an experienced hand. He is liked by Mr Gandhi and Mr Venugopal. Mr Shivakumar shares a good equation with Mrs Gandhi. Mr Kharge and Mr Surjewala are neutral in the present scheme of things.


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