Karnataka: Warring Congress leaders truce, Siddaramaiah to be CM, DK Shivakumar to be Deputy; oath on May 20

Karnataka: Warring Congress leaders truce, Siddaramaiah to be CM, DK Shivakumar to be Deputy; oath on May 20

The Congress had been grappling with internal challenges, particularly in convincing Shivakumar to support Siddaramaiah's second term as Chief Minister.

Shankar RajUpdated: Friday, May 19, 2023, 09:35 PM IST

After four days of intense negotiations, the Congress is expected to announce Siddaramaiah as the Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar as his deputy in the Congress Legislative Party meeting held in Bengaluru on Thursday evening. Media reports stated that the oath-taking ceremony will be held in Bengaluru on May 20.

The Congress had been grappling with internal challenges, particularly in convincing Shivakumar to support Siddaramaiah's second term as Chief Minister. The party later released a photo of Congress chief Kharge holding Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah's hands as the two leaders buried their hatchet.

Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge's Efforts

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge tirelessly worked through the night to find a solution to the leadership dispute. However, the outcome of the two-hour meeting between Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, and DK Shivakumar in Delhi on Wednesday remained inconclusive. Shivakumar declined both options presented to him, causing further deliberations. Another meeting was subsequently held in the evening to address the impasse.

Reportedly, one of the options proposed to DK Shivakumar was to assume the role of the state's single Deputy Chief Minister in addition to his current responsibility of heading the state party unit. Moreover, he was offered the choice of six ministries to oversee.

This offer aimed to find an amicable solution while respecting Rahul Gandhi's policy of one-person-one-post, which was implemented when Ashok Gehlot became the party president, a position currently held by Mallikarjun Kharge.

Another option presented was a power-sharing arrangement between DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah. As per this proposition, Siddaramaiah would serve as Chief Minister for two years, followed by Shivakumar for three years. However, sources indicate that both leaders were unwilling to accept the idea of going second, leading to a deadlock, reports mentioned.

Shivakumar's Persistence for the Top Post

DK Shivakumar has been steadfast in his demand for the Chief Minister position, citing his substantial contributions over the past four years. He played a crucial role in rebuilding the party after a group of MLAs defected, causing the downfall of the alliance government with HD Kumaraswamy. Shivakumar's leadership also led the party to a significant victory in the recent assembly elections.

Implications for Congress and Potential Rift

The Congress party faces the risk of suffering in the upcoming general elections if a mutually agreeable solution cannot be reached. Shivakumar enjoys support from the politically influential Vokkaliga community, while Siddaramaiah has garnered backing from the AHINDA platform, which represents minorities, Other Backward Classes, and Dalits. Failure to find common ground may lead to a situation similar to Rajasthan, where conflicts between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot nearly caused the government to collapse. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia's departure with a group of loyalists resulted in the downfall of Kamal Nath's government.

Shivakumar's Commitment and Denial of Rebellion

Despite the ongoing disagreements, DK Shivakumar has assured that he will not engage in rebellion. He emphasizes his commitment to the party and states that he does not intend to divide anyone within the party. Shivakumar affirms his responsibility and rejects any notions of backstabbing or blackmailing.

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