Rama Krishna Sangem
A decision on Karnataka Congress legislature party (CLP) leader is delayed by a couple of more days , as PCC president DK Shivakumar has flexed his muscles and staked claim to the Chief Minister post. Whoever is elected CLP leaders will be the new CM. As a result, the CLP meeting which met at Shangri La star hotel in Vasanth Nagar, Bangalore on May 14, Sunday night ended inconclusively.
A three member Congress observers team led by former Maharashtra CM Sushil Kumar Shinde managed to get two resolutions passed at the meeting – one, thanking people of Karnataka for giving full majority to Congress in the assembly elections – this is introduced by DKS, and another authorizing Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge to chose a CLP leader, this is introduced by former CM Siddaramaiah.
The differences between SIddaramaiah and DKS came into full view as not so concealed lobbying by both the leaders dominated the day on Sunday. They both made it clear to Kharge on Sunday morning that they are contenders to the CM post. Till then, Kharge was of the view that a decision new CLP leader could be made by Sunday evening and the swearing in of new CM was possible on Monday or a day later.
But, as both Sidda and DKS appeared firm on their claims, Kharge rushed to Delhi by afternoon on Sunday and met Sonia and Rahul Gandhi there. The high command – comprising the trio – Kharge, Sonia and Rahul – realized that situation is not as simple as they estimated as both Sidda and DKS camps are unrelenting on CM post. So, they changed the agenda of CLP meeting and decided to take opinions of every elected MLA in Bangalore.
This process began Sunday night and will go on till Monday forenoon. The observers team is expected to submit its report to the high command by Monday evening. Based on the numbers, Kharge is expected to convey the high command’s decision on the leader either Monday evening or Tuesday. Then, the CLP will meet again and adopt a resolution approving choice of the high command. Only then, the swearing in of CM will take place.
Sidda enjoys support of 60 MLAs
Sunday’s developments show that Sidda now enjoys support of at least 60 MLAs, while DKS is baked by only 40-45 MLAs, of the total 135 Congress legislators. The remaining MLAs are neutral and they will accept anyone selected by the high command. Two more Independent MLAs too joined Congress, thus taking its tally to 137, in a House of 224 strong assembly.
Of the newly elected Congress MLAs, as many as 32 belong to Lingayat community and they all wanted Sidda as the CM. Sidda also got the backing of majority of SC/ST MLAs, who are 35. Besides, 11 of Kurba community legislators, to which Sidda belonsg too, wanted him to be the new CM. DKS, on the other hand, got the backing of 22 Vokkaliga community MLAs and some others.
This vertical division in CLP has stunned the high command, which wanted to present a show of unity in Karnataka Congress, in the wake of a resounding victory in assembly elections. The open wrangling by Sidda and DKS is definitely a cause of worry to the high command, thus needing a careful handing of the situation. The poster war and sloganeering by the rival camp followers too points to a boiling situation in Karnataka Congress.