Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar — who so far has been firm on his demand for the Chief Minister post — is understood to have told party president Mallikarjun Kharge this evening that he is ready to work as an “ordinary MLA” if he does not get the Chief Minister’s post. Sources said while Shivakumar presented his case for the top post, he had also pointed out that Kharge himself, despite his stature and position, never became a Chief Minister.
“I don’t mind if you become the Chief Minister,” sources quoted him as telling Kharge during their one-on-one this evening.
Shivakumar also said he has not been told that his arch-rival and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will be the next Chief Minister. Only his opinion was asked on the issue.
“If I do not get the Chief Minister’s post, I am ready to work as an ordinary MLA. Ever since Siddaramaiah joined the party, he has always been in power, either as an LOP or as the Chief Minister,” sources quoted him as telling Kharge. The Congress chief met the two contenders today before taking a call on the knotty question of who would become the Chief Minister of Karnataka, a state the party won on Saturday with a massive mandate. But the question of the top post has been giving the party a headache, in view of its implications for the general election next year. The party had sent observers to meet the new MLAs individually and take their feedback. There are reports that Siddaramaiah is the choice of a majority of the MLAs. Shivakumar has made It clear that his claim to the top post is based on his work in building up the party after its coalition government with HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular had collapsed following a mass party switch by MLAs. But he also said he would not resort to “blackmail”.
“Sonia Gandhi told me, ‘I have confidence in you that you will deliver Karnataka’. I am sitting here, doing my regular responsibility. You should have the basic courtesy, a bit of gratitude. They should have the courtesy to acknowledge who is behind the win,” he had told NDTV in an exclusive interview yesterday.
Rahul Gandhi meets Cong chief Mallikarjun Kharge, discusses govt formation in Karnataka
Amid the race for the Karnataka chief minister’s post, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday met party president Mallikarjun Kharge and discussed government formation in the southern state.
Kharge earlier held discussions with party leaders from Karnataka and the three observers appointed by him to oversee the Congress Legislature Party meeting held in Bengaluru on Sunday.
The observers had sought the opinion of all newly-elected MLAs and also held a ‘secret ballot’ on their choice for chief minister. The observers discussed the findings of their report after speaking to the party MLAs in Karnataka and handed it over to Kharge Monday night. Both Siddaramaiah and state Congress president D K Shivakumar are front runners for the chief minister’s post and both are lobbying for it. Sources said former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi would also be consulted over the choice of chief minister and government formation in Karnataka. The newly-elected Congress MLAs have already passed a resolution authorising party chief Kharge to appoint a leader of the Congress Legislature party, who will be the chief minister. In the just-concluded Assembly elections, the Congress scored an emphatic victory with 135 seats while the ruling BJP and the former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19 seats, respectively.