shivakumar: Karnataka CM contenders Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar take edge-of-seat match to slog overs


The Congress leadership on Tuesday night pushed Karnataka chief ministerial contenders Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar to reach a final settlement, though the two continued to claim the top post. Congress chief Malikarjun Kharge completed separate discussions with the two leaders and is expected to consult the AICC brass, including Gandhis, with the aim of making a formal announcement on Wednesday. AICC indicated Kharge, perhaps with Gandhis, may hold another round of meeting with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar before inking the deal.

There are indications that Siddaramaiah has the support of more MLAs, a key criteria for the high command while settling the issue often. However, the leadership is also sensitive about duly honouring the gallant fight that Shivakumar put up by leading Congress to a resounding win against BJP. If all goes well, Kharge will travel to Bengaluru along with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar on Wednesday to make the announcement.

Shivakumar, who arrived in Delhi on Tuesday afternoon, held talks with AICC general secretaries before he met Kharge in the evening. Before the Congress president held talks with the two contenders, Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal met Kharge at his residence where they were learnt to have discussed the observer’s report about the majority view among MLAs.

While Siddaramaiah, a former CM, claimed the support of majority MLAs and urged the party high command to go by their opinion, Shivakumar has appraised party leaders of the sacrifices he has made over the past three years as head of the KPCC to bring the party to power. He is also said to have reminded the party leaders of the time spent in Tihar Jail and his record as a loyal Congressman in support of his demand, according to people aware of the developments.

The KPCC president is said to have conveyed to the high command that he was okay with any person for the CM’s post, except Siddaramaiah, because he had already occupied the post. He is learnt to have said that others should also be given an opportunity. He even urged Kharge to return to Karnataka politics and take over as CM, a post he should have got long ago, but never did.


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