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Siddaramaiah is the next Karnataka CM, D K Shivakumar to be his deputy; oath on May 20

The decision came after a series of late Wednesday night meetings, which spilled over into the wee hours of Thursday.


Siddaramaiah is the next Karnataka CM, D K Shivakumar to be his deputy; oath on May 20
Siddaramaiah, D K Shivakumar. Credit- PTI-DH Photos

After four days of intense wrangling, Congress on Thursday early morning finalized Siddaramaiah to be the next Chief Minister of Karnataka while D K Shivakumar will become the Deputy Chief Minister.



The decision came after a series of late Wednesday night meetings, which spilled over into the wee hours of Thursday, involving Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress General Secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala, and the two Karnataka veterans.


A formula to break the impasse was finalized during a video conference between Kharge and Sonia Gandhi. Sources said Rahul Gandhi also favored that the leader with the highest number of MLAs' support should be chosen.


Shivakumar, who is the Karnataka Congress president, called a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Bengaluru on Thursday at 7 pm to elect the leader of the CLP. Sources said Shivakumar, who would be the lone Deputy Chief Minister, would propose the name of Siddaramaiah.



The oath-taking ceremony will take place in Bengaluru Kanteerava stadium on Saturday in the presence of Congress leadership, which would also include party Chief Ministers. The Congress also plans to make it a show of Opposition unity by inviting top leaders to the event.


Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had been at each other’s throats for the post of Chief Minister since Congress romped home to power with an impressive win against the ruling BJP on May 13. A CLP meeting on Sunday authorized Kharge to choose the next Chief Minister.


However, both leaders did not arrive at a consensus till Thursday morning and insisted that they should be made the sole Chief Minister.



Sources said initially Shivakumar was reluctant to become Deputy Chief Minister under Siddaramaiah but Kharge managed to find a middle path through negotiations between the leaders by deputing Venugopal and Surjewala to thrash out the minute details of the agreement.


Earlier, there was a proposal to have three Deputy Chief Ministers from Lingayat, Muslim, and Dalit communities but in the new formula, sources said, it was decided to have just one Deputy Chief Minister.


The last four days saw intense discussions with both sides pointing out their strengths and the rivals’ weaknesses. Siddaramaiah told the party leadership that Shivakumar as Chief Minister would be problematic as the party had won on an anti-corruption plank and with him facing cases, it would be difficult.



Siddaramaiah also said that he is the popular face and vote catcher and he commands the respect of Muslims and backward caste voters, who would be decisive in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He also does not share a great relationship with Shivakumar as he had not inducted him in the 2013 ministry for almost six months and it took the party high command’s intervention.


On the other hand, Shivakumar was of the view that Congress lost power after a five-year rule of Siddaramaiah. He was given the post of CLP leader but he could not perform better in the Lok Sabha polls.



This is the second time 75-year-old Siddaramaiah, who had quit the JD(S) to join the Congress after H D Deve Gowda started promoting his son H D Kumaraswamy as his political heir, will be becoming the Chief Minister of Karnataka.


In 2013, he pipped Kharge to become the Chief Minister. Shivakumar (61), known for his organizational skills and ability as a crisis manager that he displayed during the Rajya Sabha election of the late Ahmed Patel, became party chief in Karnataka after the Congress-JD(S) government fell in 2020.


Shivakumar is credited for steering the crisis-hit party in the past three years when “none were willing to be at the wheels” after desertions from the organization of the BJP.


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