Siddaramaiah may be new CM, DKS will have to wait


Rama Krishna Sangem

Veteran Congress leader Siddaramaiah may become new Chief Minister of Karnataka. Another strong contender and PCC president DK Shivakumar (DKS) will have to wait for some more time, to realize his dream. This is the indications we got from top sources from AICC , both Bangalore and Delhi. Congress legislature party (CLP) of newly elected 136 party MLAs will meet in Bangalore at 5.30 pm, May 14, Sunday. New leader’s name will  be announced by night.

DKS will propose the name of Siddaramaiah and others will back it, as per the plans chalked out by the representatives of party high command – that includes Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge, general secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi may not interfere with the process, though they have approved this formula.

After election of a new leader, a Congress delegation will meet Governor Thavarchand Gehlot and stake claim to form next government. The Governor will appoint the new leader as CM and fix time on May 15, Monday for swearing in ceremony at historic Kabban Park in Bangalore. A small team – including DKS – will be sworn in. By all indications, DKS will be the No 2 man in the government, while retaining PCC president post.


Why Sidda?

Really it is a tough time for the Congress high command to pick Siddaramaiah as the CM, when there is huge craze for DKS among the youth and cadre. DKS is an organization man, known for his ability to mobilise resources for Congress in the last few years, besides investing time and energies for keeping the flock together. Known as a leader with emotions and efficiency, DKS will definitely be a CM soon.

But, the high command, apparently Sonia, Rahul  in consultion with Karnataka leaders have decided to make Sidda as CM in view of his vast experience as CM for five years, till 2018. Sidda, a cool, efficient and down to earth approach leader, is best suited to head the government at this stage. Besides fulfilling major election promises, the Congress government will have to see party victory in Lok Sabha elections less than a year away.

Moreover, Siddaramaiah, now 75 years old and a former CM may not work in a Cabinet headed by DKS, much junior to him. But, DKS, now just 61 years, has a long future in politics and can wait for a couple of more years to become CM. Interestingly, working as No 2 under Sidda now will given enough exposure to DKS to train for the top post. Earlier too DKS worked in Sidda Cabinet as irrigation minister. So, DKS can accept Sidda as his boss once again.

Congress leaders are  apprehensive of divisions in the party, if Sidda is made CM, ignoring DKS, like the situations unfolded in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiradiya Scindhia left Congress to join BJP in protest against Kamal Nath being made CM, while in Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot is still fighting with CM Ashok Gehlot. Congress leadership is hopeful that these examples will not be repeated in Karnataka.

Because, DKS knows that his time will come soon after LS polls, and Sidda cannot remain in office for full five year term. If Congress can win majority seats in Karnataka, and the party plays a role in the government at the Centre in 2024, Sidda may go as a union minister, while DKS will become CM. Siddaramaih started his politics in Janta Party, later in Janata Dal and JD(S), DKS is a product of Youth Congress and an original organizational man.

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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