Rama Krishna Sangem
Efforts are underway at the Congress high command level in Delhi to resolve the stalemate over new chief minister of Karnataka. Two main contenders – former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president DK Shivakumar – are firm on the CM post.
Initially, Congress high command – Sonia, Rahul Gandhi and AICC president Mallikarjuna Kharge – proposed to make Sidda as CM till at least next Lok Sabha elections then the baton can be passed on to DKS. However, DKS insisted that he should be given the post, if at all it comes to him.
The tussle is expected to be thrashed out by May 15, Monday night in Delhi where both the contenders will meet Kharge and Rahul Gandhi. It is not clear, if Sonia would join them, as currently she is away with her daughter Priyanka on a vacation in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Karnataka assembly election results were announced by the Election Commission of India by May 13, Saturday evening, giving Congress 135 seats in a House of 224 members. Newly elected Congress MLAs – Congress Legislature Party – met the next day in Bangalore.
As there was no unanimity over who should lead it, three member team of AICC led by former Maharashtra CM Sushil Kumar Shinde gathered opinions from them and went to Delhi to present the outcome to Kharge. Kharge is in touch with Rahul, called Sidda and DKS to Delhi on May 15, Monday.
Sidda left for Delhi Monday morning, but DKS left in the evening, as he celebrated his 61st birthday with family during the day. Before leaving for Delhi, DKS said: “Congress won 135 seats under my leadership. I am a loner in the party, but with lots of courage and confidence”.
These remarks reflect the sentiments of Congress workers across Karnataka that it was DKS who stood by the party in times of testing and he deserves to be crowned with CM post. He even said, he was there for the party when most Congress MLAs left the party to join hands with JD(S) and BJP.
Congress high command is in a fix now. Sidda is ready to take up CM post for the first two years and then leave it to DKS. But, DKS is not ready to accept it saying those who take up CM post will not give it easily, going by the examples of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
It would be difficult to accommodate Sidda in a Cabinet led by DKS as CM, as the former is quite senior in age and stature – a former CM. At the same time, now DKS is insisting that either he should be made a CM for full five years term or he will not join Sidda Cabinet. This take it or leave it approach by either side is worrying the high command.
This is causing the logjam in formation of new government in Karnataka