Amid suspense over who will be the next Chief Minister of Karnataka, it has been a day of several meetings at the residence of AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge.
At 8 am, former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah is meeting Kharge for the second time on Tuesday, 16 May. Prior to this visit, Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar had met the All India Congress Committee (AICC) president.
During the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also met Kharge, who is expected to announce a decision by Wednesday, 17 May, as reported by ANI.
While avoiding any visible confrontation, party leaders Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar have been at loggerheads for quite some time over who will take the top post. While the former had reached Delhi on Monday, 15 May, the KPCC president had postponed his visit to Tuesday.
Siddaramaiah is believed to have the support of most number of Congress MLAs.
Before leaving for Delhi on Tuesday, Shivakumar had said, as reported by ANI, "Ours is a united house, our number is 135 (MLAs). I don't want to divide anyone here. Whether they like me or not, I am a responsible man. I will not backstab and I will not blackmail." He is currently in Delhi, at his brother DK Suresh's residence and is expected to meet AICC leaders soon.
A hectic process to elect the CM has been underway since Congress made a sweeping victory in Karnataka elections and bagged 135 seats on Saturday, 13 May.
Different organisations stake claim on CM post, politicians cast aspersions: As the talks continue, Lingayat organisation Veerashaiva Mahasabha has asked for a Lingayat CM, while Dalit leaders have asked for the elevation of G Parameshwara, a prominent Dalit leader, as CM.
Also, Panchamasali Lingayats have asked for their leader and Congress MLA Vinay Kulkarni to be made Deputy Chief Minister. The community has also asked Vijayanand Kashappanavar to be given a plum portfolio.
Meanwhile, Waqf Board chairman Shafi Sadi has stated that a Muslim should be made the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka. Bharatiya Janata Party IT Cell chief Amit Malviya shared Sadi's video on Twitter, after which several Congress leaders pointed out that Safi was appointed by the BJP and is acting as "BJP's pawn."
Also, former BJP MLA and Health Minister K Sudhakar has accused Siddaramaiah of having instigated his move from Congress to BJP in 2019. Sudhakar and 16 other MLAs had left Congress-JD(S) coalition government to join the BJP back then. The Congress-JD(S) government subsequently collapsed and the BJP formed government in 2019 in Karnataka.
Those in the know, however, said that Sudhakar's allegations against Siddaramaiah are baseless as the BJP leader had not "uttered a word" till he lost his seat in the recently concluded Assembly elections. Sudhakar has no proof to back his allegations and has brought up the same as he wants to damage Siddaramaiah's reputation before he become the CM, a section alleged.
Unanimous resolution: On Sunday, 14 May, evening, all newly-elected Congress MLAs gathered for the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Bengaluru's Shangri La hotel. A single-line resolution authorising AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge to appoint the CLP Leader – the Chief Minister – was passed in the meeting.
What has DK Shivakumar said? The KPCC president was quoted as saying, "We have built this party (Congress), we have built this house. I am a part of it...A mother will give everything to her child."
"Sonia Gandhi is our role model...Congress is family for everyone. Our constitution is very much important, so we have to protect everyone's interest."