The Congress is set to get a majority in the Karnataka Assembly elections. The focus now shifts to the next question – who will be the next chief minister of Karnataka?
The main contenders are former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress chief DK Shivakumar.
So, what's working in favour of these two leaders?
And what are the different scenarios?
What's Working for Siddaramaiah?
There are arguably two mass leaders in Karnataka – BS Yediyurappa and Siddaramaiah. With Yediyurappa out of active politics, Siddaramaiah is the tallest leader in the state.
Every exit poll and opinion poll showed him as the number one CM choice.
If he is made CM, it would be a natural reflection of the people's choice.
He is also the best choice as far as Congress' social coalition is concerned. Siddaramaiah revived Congress' AHINDA base comprising minorities, backward castes, and Dalits.
What's Working for DK Shivakumar?
DK Shivakumar has worked extremely hard as the Karnataka Congress chief. He had taken over in 2020, a year after Congress' debacle in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress had won just one seat out of 28, and that, too, was Shivakumar's brother DK Suresh.
A few months later, the Congress lost bypolls necessitated by the resignation of its MLAs. Dinesh Gundu Rao resigned after that defeat, and a few months later, Shivakumar took over.
He has also won a great deal of respect in the party for having stayed loyal despite facing arrest and raids.
What Happens Next? 3 Scenarios
The Congress Legislature Party is set to meet in Bengaluru on 13 May. There are three possibilities as far as the CM choice is concerned.
1. Siddaramaiah becomes CM – MLAs authorise the party high command to decide on the CM. The high command, on its part, chooses Siddaramaiah as the CM, given his mass appeal and seniority.
2. DK Shivakumar becomes CM – Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala and party observers reach out to the MLAs who pick Shivakumar.
3. Congress arrives at a power-sharing arrangement with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, and they become CM for two-and-half years each.