Congress crisis in Karnataka: Will Siddharamaiah win the Chief Ministerial race? Here's what we know!

Within four days of recording a stupendous victory in the Karnataka assembly polls, the Congress party has caught into the whirl of crisis and chaos over the heated race for the Chief Ministerial post. While the cadres celebrate the triumph, little did they know that the party would face loggerheads as both the contenders Siddharamaiah and DK Shivakumar give no room for an imminent consensus, even as the Congress high command is attempting the mitigate the crisis. 

As it is expected that new Congress government will swear-in to power on Thursday - May 18, the Congress party is pushed to end the suspense of who will become the Chief Minister. According to recent reports, veteran leader and former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah will win the race and become the new Chief Minister and the Congress party is also working out an unprecedented plan of appointing three Deputy Chief Ministers. 

The party has announced that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will take the final call of electing the Chief Minister. As the chaos deepens, both Siddharamaiah and Shivakumar, who is Karnataka's Congress president, have met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi separately during which they defended their candidature. For Congress, it is in catch-22 situation as it desperately needs Siddharamaiah and Shivakumar to strenghthen the party in Karnataka ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

For the supporters of Siddharamaiah, they have already started celebrating in Bengaluru that he will become the next Chief Minister. On Tuesday, Kharge has led one-on-one discussions with the two contenders in Delhi, but there was no potential consensus. While both Siddharamaiah and Shivakumar were asked to stay  in Delhi on Wednesday, it has been reported that Kharge has held a consultation with former Congress national president Sonia Gandhi. 

On the other hand, the three central observers have sought the views from all the election Congress MLAs and with the support of majority of MLAs, Siddharamaiah leads the race while Shivakumar has also staked claim to be the Chief Minister by stating that he was instrumental in rebuilding the party in the state and delivered the promise of bringing the Congress to power in Karnataka. 

Shivakumar has also told Kharge, during their meet, that Siddharamaiah was the Leader of Opposition twice and served as a Chief Minister for a full five-year term. Shivakumar has also said that he will not accept any lower posts than the Chief Minister, including the post of Deputy Chief Minister. As per the reports, he went on to say that if he wasn't given the Chief Minister post, he would rather remain as a Congress MLA. 

To mitigate the crisis and also to keep Siddharamaiah and DK Shivakumar in same political equation, the Congress party has also considered a power-sharing system between both of them, through which Siddharamaiah could take over as the Chief Minister while Shivakumar will continue as the president of Karnataka Congress committee for the first two and a half years. In the rest of the assembly term, Shivakumar will be made the Chief Minister.

However, Shivakumar hasn't accepted for such system amidst a strong advantage for Siddharamaiah for becoming the next Chief Minister. Karnataka assembly poll was held on May 10 and the results were declared on May 13. While BJP has faced a major decable and lost the reign, Congress has secured a landslide victory with a clear and historical majority. The party has bagged 135 seats in 224-seated assembly while BJP and JD(S) have got 66 and 19 seats respectively.