The suspense over the next Chief Minister in Karnataka still continues.
If emerging reports are anything to go by, the Congress leadership is struggling to find a compromise between two warring leaders, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar (DKS). In fact, an announcement to make Siddaramaiah the CM was almost ready, but it’s learnt that DKS was not ready for a compromise and insisted on the CM’s mantle, and the declaration has now been put off.
Siddaramaiah is still considered the front-runner among the two, while DKS is unrelenting, claiming that the Assembly polls were won under him as state party chief and that he has worked hard to ensure this victory.
Earlier, reports said Siddaramaiah would be sworn in at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday (May 18) and arrangements for the swearing-in were suddenly suspended, citing no particular reason.
Cabinet in 48-72 hours: Congress
Congress’ Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala told reporters on Wednesday (May 17) that deliberations are currently underway by Kharge and the state will have a new cabinet in the next 48-72 hours.
Surjewala also urged the media to stop listening to rumours while alleging that it was the handiwork of a “disgruntled” BJP.
“Stop listening to rumours being planted by the BJP which is frustrated by the decisive defeat in Karnataka. The Congress is committed to the welfare of each Kannadiga, the Congress is committed to fulfilling its five guarantees, the Congress is committed to implementing its agenda. The Congress is committed to giving a clean, transparent and responsible government,” he said.
In many parts of the state, supporters of Siddaramaiah have started celebrating their leader’s return to the CM saddle.
On the other hand, security was stepped up in Shivakumar’s home district Ramanagara as a precautionary measure as his supporters staged protests in multiple places after some media outlets claimed that he had “lost” the race for the CM’s post to Siddaramaiah. Police presence was beefed up particularly in Shivakumar’s constituency Kanakapura, where he hails from as well.
The state Congress president and Siddaramaiah are locked in an intense power struggle over who will lead the government after the Congress stormed to power by winning 135 seats in the May 10 elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly.
#WATCH | Delhi: Congress leader Siddaramaiah arrives at 10, Janpath to meet party leader Rahul Gandhi as the suspense continues over Karnataka CM post pic.twitter.com/CWmTmDctHu
— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2023
On Tuesday (May 16), both DKS and Siddaramaiah held discussions with party’s chief M Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi, but the Congress chief is expected to announce the name only on Wednesday (May 17) in Bengaluru after consulting United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi.
What Parameshwara says
Amid intense lobbying for the chief minister’s post in Karnataka, senior Congress leader G Parameshwara on Tuesday said he was ready to take up the top job if the party’s high command entrusted him with the responsibility.
Parameshwara, a former state Congress chief, said the high command is aware of his service to the party and he doesn’t feel the need to lobby for the post. “If the high command decides and asks me to run the government, I’m ready to take up the responsibility,” the former deputy chief minister told reporters in Bengaluru.
Also read: 10 CM aspirants in Karnataka Cong, I’m one of them, says Parameshwara
“I have faith in the party high command. I have certain principles. I can also take about 50 legislators and do the shouting, but for me the discipline of the party is important. If people like us don’t follow things, there won’t be any discipline in the party. I have said that if the high command gives me the responsibility, I will take it up. I have not said I won’t,” he said.
“They (high command) too are aware that I have worked for the party, served it for eight years (as KPCC president) and brought it to power (in 2013). Also, I have served as the deputy chief minister. They know everything, there is nothing for us to say afresh. So I feel there is no need for me to ask for the post or lobby for it. If given an opportunity, I will do the job,” he added.
Tumakuru, Karnataka | Supporters of Congress leader G Parameshwara staged a protest demanding CM post for him. pic.twitter.com/cjdpEFqQvf
— ANI (@ANI) May 16, 2023
Watch | Several CM aspirants? That speaks well of Congress, says G Parameshwara
The Congress Legislature Party (CLP), which met at a hotel in Bengaluru on Sunday, had passed a unanimous resolution authorising Kharge to pick the next chief minister.
Parameshwara, a Dalit, was the deputy chief minister during Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy. He was also the longest-serving KPCC chief (eight years) and has a PhD in plant physiology from the Waite Agriculture Research Centre of the University of Adelaide.
Parameshwara, who represents Koratagere in Tumakuru district, had lost the 2013 assembly polls, when he was KPCC president. He was a contender for the chief minister’s post then, but as he lost the elections, he was made an MLC and a minister in the Siddaramaiah government.