Four days after the party's massive sweep in the Karnataka Assembly elections, Congress declared, on Thursday, 18 May, that its leader, 75-year-old Siddaramaiah will be made the chief minister of Kanataka. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar will be made the deputy chief minister.
The Karnataka Congress Legislature Party (CLP) met on 18 May and formally selected Siddaramaiah as its leader. Following this, the CM-designate and his deputy-to-be DK Shivakumar met Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot to stake claim to form the government.
The oath-taking ceremony is scheduled to be held at 12:30 pm on 20 May in Bengaluru's Kanteerava Stadium.
The decision came after days-long talks as both the leaders made their cases before the Congress central leadership in Delhi and mobilised MLAs to support them in Karnataka. In the race, Siddaramaiah had emerged with the most number of MLAs, as reported by The Quint on 16 May.
The announcement came a day after The Quint had first reported, on 17 May, the party's decision of making Siddaramaiah the CM and DK Shivakumar the Deputy CM.
"The Congress president (Mallikarjun Kharge) finally took a decision on the CLP leader. He decided that Siddharamaiah will be the chief minister and DK Shivakumar will be the only one deputy CM. He will continue as PCC president till the Parliament election is over," said Congress General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal while addressing the media in New Delhi on Thursday, 18 May.
After the announcement, Siddaramaiah said in a tweet in Kannada, "Our hands will always be united to protect the welfare of Kannadigas. The Congress party will work as a family to deliver a pro-people, transparent, corruption-free government and fulfil all our guarantees."
DK Shivakumar also tweeted the pitcure and said, "Karnataka's secure future and our people's welfare is our top priority, and we are united in guaranteeing that."
'The Only Power Sharing Formula Is With the People'
Addressing the media along with Congress leader Randeep Surjewala, Venugopal said that both Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar had the right to claim the CM post.
"An experienced senior leader and an able administrator, Siddaramaiah ji contributed a lot for this election, for the party. He tirelessly worked through the state. Similarly, our PCC president DK, our dynamic party organiser electrified the cadre of the state. He filled the gaps wherever required. With Shivakumar as PCC leader and Siddaramaiah as CLP leader, both are assets of the Congress party in Karnataka," he said.
"Everybody has the wish to become CM and both deserved to have it. The Congress president had a series of consultations with senior leaders and one-to-one discussions with both leaders. We were all a part of it. He also took suggestions from Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and all other senior leaders," Venugopal added.
Asked about discussions on sharing the CM post between the two leaders, Venugopal said: "The only power-sharing formula is with the people of Karnataka."
'Team Congress Is Committed': What Kharge Said
The announcement came ahead of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting called by Shivakumar on Thursday evening in Bengaluru where all MLAs will be briefed about the party's decision, Venugopal said.
The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief has written to all legislators, asking them to attend the meeting of the newly-elected MLAs, MLCs and MPs .
Ahead of the announcement, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge had tweeted a picture captioned: "Team Congress is committed to usher progress, welfare and social justice for the people of Karnataka. We will implement the 5 guarantees promised to 6.5 Cr Kannadigas (sic)."
The hectic process to elect the CM had been underway since Congress made a sweeping victory in Karnataka elections and bagged 135 seats on Saturday, 13 May.