New Delhi: Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar will meet Rahul Gandhi amid the prevailing deadlock over the next chief minister of the southern state, four days after the party’s resounding victory in the keenly contested assembly elections. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge already met the two top contenders last evening amid ongoing efforts towards an agreement. Siddaramaiah (75) and Shivakumar, 61, have been told to stay in Delhi for now, said Congress sources.
Meanwhile, the Congress central leadership will hold another round of deliberations to choose the new Karnataka Chief Minister with both Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar persisting with their claims for the top post and their supporters lobbying hard for them. The next round of meetings is slated to take place in the afternoon after which a final decision is likely to be made.
Party sources said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is likely to reach Delhi today from Himachal Pradesh and is expected to meet some leaders who are part of the decision-making process in Karnataka. The sources said DK Shivakumar, who is Karnataka Congress chief, is likely to agree to suggestions made by Sonia Gandhi to help the party solve the leadership issue in the state.
New Claimants For Karnataka CM’s Chair
Dr G Parameshwara, former Karnataka Deputy CM, has also shown his keenness for the top job in the state, stating that if he is assigned the responsibility, he will fulfil it. “If the Congress high command gives me the responsibility of the CM post, I will definitely fulfil it. They know everything about me and my work. I don’t want to lobby,” he said.
Congress general secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal, however, said a good decision” will come. “Decision will come, wait. Good decisions will come. It will come as soon as possible,” Venugopal said as he left Kharge’s residence.
The results of assembly polls were declared on Saturday and the newly-elected Congress MLAs on Sunday authorised Kharge to take a decision.
Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar Camping In Delhi
With the action shifting to Delhi, both Siddaramaiah, a former Chief Minister of Karnataka, and Shivakumar reached Delhi. Congress leadership is keen on an early decision on the choice of Chief Minister and also wants to ensure that there are no fissures either in the running of the government or the party in Karnataka so that the party can focus on its preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress is already battling factionalism in Rajasthan and the differences in Chhattisgarh on the issue of leadership have not entirely ended. The party suffered in Madhya Pradesh due to the exit of Jyotiraditya Scindia. Congress leadership is looking at a formula where Karnataka may have Deputy Chief Ministers along with the Chief Minister to meet the aspirations of various communities.
The central observers appointed by the party in Karnataka spoke to MLAs and gave their report to the party leadership. Sources said Kharge will take the final decision after consulting Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. “No final decision has been made on the Karnataka CM post yet. Congress president has met all the stakeholders. Now the final decision will be taken by him in consultation with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. The announcement can be delayed and the announcement can be made in Bengaluru itself,” a source said.
Kharge held meetings with both Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah on Tuesday. Siddaramaiah came to Kharge’s residence along with his son Yatindra and MLAs Zameer Ahmad, Bhyrati Suresh, and senior leader KJ George.
Won’t Blackmail Party: Shivakumar
Earlier in the day, Shivakumar, in an exclusive interview with ANI said he would not resort to “backstabbing or blackmail” regardless of the party’s decision. “If the party wants they can give me the responsibility……. Ours is a united house, our number is 135. I don’t want to divide anyone here. Whether they like me or not, I am a responsible man. I will not backstab and I will not blackmail,” he said.
“The party is my god…We have built this party, I am a part of it and I am not alone in this,” he said before his departure from Bengaluru. “We have built this party (Congress), we have built this house. I am a part of it…A mother will give everything to her child,” he said.
Asked about his expectations as the state party president, Shivakumar said,” I don’t want to comment on what has happened earlier. How it happened. That is a closed chapter we formed the government we lost the government, we lost a coalition government. Who is responsible for the victory and loss there is no use in talking about it now. Let us not sell this story… let us sell the future.” Congress scored an emphatic win in Karnataka, getting 135 seats in the 224-member assembly and reducing BJP to 66 seats.
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