Finally, after days of chaos and crisis in Congress party over the Chief Ministerial race in Karnataka, the stalemate has come to an end on Thursday and the result was as largely predicted - veteran Congress leader Siddharamaiah is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Karnataka and the party, which recorded a stupendous victory in the recently-held assembly polls, will be forming a new government on Saturday - May 20.
Thanks to the incessant and intense parleys from the Congress party, the chaos over the apex role just lasted for days, as although it displayed the lack of robust high command, the collective efforts from senior leaders had mitigated political tensions within the party, despite its celebrations for recording a landslide triumph by defeating the BJP. Karnataka polls were held on May 10 and the results were announced on May 13.
Congress won the elections with a clear majority by securing 135 seats in the 224-seated assembly. Though the victory gave a big boost to the party for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the race to the Chief Minister between the top two leaders - Siddharamaiah (75) and Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar (61) had also exhibited a big divide within the party as both the contenders defended their candidature to the Chief Minister.
The political infight between Siddharamaiah and DK Shivakumar over the top post didn't give room for consensus and several Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had come to the picture to end this loggerhead. While Siddharamaiah had served as the Chief Minister from 2013 to 2018 and as the Leader of Opposition twice, Shivakumar has demanded that it's time that he should get a turn to serve as the Chief Minister.
Shivakumar, as Karnataka Congress chief, put more weight on his candidature by stating that he was instrumental in strengthening the party in the state and that he had now delivered the promise of putting the Congress party in power in Karnataka. The veterans from his community had also urged the Congress high command to pick him as the Chief Minister. However, on the other hand, Siddharamaiah has reaped majority of support from the newly elected Congress MLAs.
As most of the MLAs supported Siddharamaiah's candidature, his supporters had started celebrating across Karnataka while the Congress party had explored option to placate Shivakumar as both of them are crucial for party's growth in Karnataka ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Shivakumar has denied any offers from the Congress leadership other than the Chief Minister and has also told Kharge that if he wasn't given the Chief Minister post, he would remain just as an MLA.
As the chaos in the Congress has sparked an attack from the opposition, the party was beefing up its efforts to end the suspense in Karnataka. The high-level drama involved several rounds of meetings and negotiations and on Wednesday, it was reported that Siddharamaiah will most likely become the Chief Minister while Shivakumar would be awarded the Deputy Chief Minister post and he will also remain as the chief of Karnataka Congress unit.
On Wednesday, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala cited that the official announcement about the Chief Minister will be issued on Thursday and appealed the cadres not to spread rumours. The party's leadership made a final preparation in Delhi to announce the winner. Ahead of the announcement, both the contenders met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and the picture of their meet showed that the Congress party has arrived at consensus.
Addressing the press conference, Congress leader KC Venugopal officially announced that Siddharamaiah will be the Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar will be the Deputy Chief Minister. Venugopal has also said that Shivakumar will also remain as the Karnataka Congress unit chief till the end of the 2024 general elections and that the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, and a group of ministers will be sworn-in on May 20. As the chaos over the Chief Ministerial race has finally come to an end, the Congress functionaries in Karnataka have been celebrating as the party is all set to form a government with a historical mandate.
Shivakumar will continue as the PCC president till the end of parliamentary elections. CM, Dy CM and a group of ministers will be sworn-in on 20th May: KC Venugopal, Congress General Secretary -Organisation— ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2023