Congress, smelling win in Karnataka, hunts for safe place for MLAs

If the Congress wins, its main challenge will be a possible tussle over the chief minister's post between former chief minister Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar

Rahul Gandhi
As it surged ahead in early leads, the Congress posted a video of Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra with a caption that appeared to credit the leader with the party's performance.

With the Congress racing ahead in the Karnataka assembly elections, party leaders said on Saturday (May 13) that they were looking for a safe place to keep their winning MLAs to prevent possible poaching by the BJP.

Within hours after the counting of votes began across Karnataka, trends showed the Congress crossing the half-way mark and inching towards getting around 120 seats in the southern state.

In the event of a hung verdict, there will be a race for power among the Congress, the second-placed BJP, and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

Also read: Live | Karnataka Assembly poll results: Cong crosses 113-mark; jolt to BJP; 4 ministers trailing

Congress sources said the party plans to take its MLAs to Tamil Nadu and is in touch with the DMK leadership in Chennai, media reports said.

Arrangements were also being made to take all elected Congress MLAs to Bengaluru by Saturday evening (May 13).

Shivakumar fiat

Congress leader DK Shivakumar told party officials across the state to keep a close watch on the winning candidates – for their own sake.

According to sources close to him, the MLAs will first be moved to a luxury hotel in Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan’s Congress chief minister Ashok Gehlot said he was ready to host the winning Congress MLAs from Karnataka at a resort in Udaipur, media reports said.

As it surged ahead in early leads, the Congress posted a video of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra with a caption that appeared to credit the leader with the party’s performance.

Also read: Karnataka election: Ahead of results, BJP, Cong and JD-S hold ‘strategic’ meetings

“I’m invincible. I’m so confident. Yeah, I’m unstoppable today,” the Congress wrote with a fire emoji.

Several Congress leaders said the yatra had “energised” people and damaged the ruling BJP.

Celebrations started early in the Congress camp.

Congress tussle

If, however, the Congress wins, its main challenge will be a possible tussle over the chief minister’s post between former chief minister Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar.

Yathindra Siddaramiah said his father should be chief minister for the sake of Karnataka.

“We will do anything to keep BJP out of power…In the interest of Karnataka, my father should become the chief minister,” he told the news agency ANI.

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