Lingayat seers, Muslims, Dalits press for CM post, berths
Various pressure groups have now begun demanding that their nominee be made chief minister
New Delhi: It is open season in Karnataka as the Congress takes its time to choose a chief minister. Various pressure groups have now begun demanding that their nominee be made chief minister — these include the Lingayat seers, the Dalits and Muslim groups. Senior Veerashaiva-Lingayat, Muslim and Dalit MLAs, besides smaller communities, which have 24 MLAs, are among those demanding the deputy chief minister posts. While individual legislators are staking claim for the second highest post in the government, their respective religious and social organisations too are lobbying hard for them.
The Muslim community is also demanding a deputy CM’s post. It accounts for about 12 per cent vote share and the community’s voters have a decisive say in about 90 seats. KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed and former ministers Zameer Khan and U.T. Khader are the main contenders. Besides the pontiffs of several Lingayat mutts, the Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva-Lingayat Mahasabha has written to AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge to “reward” the community with a “top post”.
The Congress has 34 Veerashaiva-Lingayat MLAs (excluding four Reddy Lingayats) and since the battle for the CM’s post is between a Vokkaliga (D.K. Shivakumar) and Kuruba (Siddaramaiah), they are demanding a deputy CM’s post. Congress campaign committee chief M.B. Patil and former minister Eshwar Khandre are the main contenders.
Many of these demands are being made to ensure that even if the top post is not given, there will be accommodation made in the state Cabinet. The Congress has to play a balancing act in ensuring that there is a rainbow representation in the new government as many sections of society have voted for them.