Bengaluru: The Congress high command has offered the post of Karnataka deputy chief minister to D. K. Shivakumar, and is considering making Siddaramaiah chief minister, persons directly aware of the developments told ThePrint.
Speaking to reporters outside party president Mallikarjun Kharge’s Delhi residence Wednesday, AICC’s Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the new CM would be announced in a day or two. One must not believe in rumours, or speculate, he added.
Apart from the deputy CM’s post, Shivakumar has also been offered six key portfolios and the option of retaining the post of state party chief, it is learnt. However, he is yet to accept or deny this offer, multiple Congress functionaries privy to the hectic deliberations in Delhi said, adding that in separate meetings Wednesday, party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi tried to convince Shivakumar to accept the deputy CM’s post.
“The only issue confirmed as of now is that Siddaramaiah will take over as the chief minister,” said one Congress legislator who is currently in Delhi, requesting anonymity.
Both Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have made their interest in the CM’s chair clear ever since results of the assembly polls were declared Saturday, with the Congress winning by a clear majority with 135 of the 224 seats in the state assembly. Shivakumar, 61, has been unrelenting in his demand, claiming his eligibility for the top chair only.
A veteran Congress leader told ThePrint that there had been no discussion so far on power-sharing between the two leaders. “It leads to instability in the government,” the leader said, adding that there were still some differences between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, which were being sorted out.
The two leaders, it is learnt, are not in favour of a power-sharing agreement, citing the case of Rajasthan where Sachin Pilot continues to target the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government.
“As far as I know there is no power-sharing agreement that was discussed so far but if it happens post this, I am not aware,” another senior Congress leader told ThePrint Monday afternoon.
There are also reports indicating that one Lingayat, one Muslim and one member of the Dalit community will take over as deputies to Siddaramaiah in order to give representation to all communities that stood by the Congress in its victory and keeping the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind.
Meanwhile, supporters of Siddaramaiah have already begun celebrating. Preparations for what may be the oath-taking ceremony are underway in Bengaluru’s Kanteerava stadium.
Another person aware of the developments said that once the formal announcement is made in Delhi, Siddaramaiah would have to return to Bengaluru, meet the Karnataka governor and make an official claim to form the government.
Also Read: CM or nothing? Congress Karnataka chief DK Shivakumar locks horns with Siddaramaiah for top post
People’s aspirations more important than politics, says Bommai
Meanwhile, outgoing CM Basavaraj Bommai said that the Congress has been unable to settle its leadership issue despite getting a full majority.
“They are yet to decide their CM candidate. I don’t want to talk on their internal matters but it is going to reflect on the Congress party that in spite of having a complete majority, they are unable to decide a leader. This shows the internal situation of the party. The aspirations of the people are more important than politicking. I think they should settle the office of the chief minister and form a government,” he said Wednesday.
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