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Karnataka: Power Battle For CM Position Shifts To Delhi; Congress Top Brass Under Watch

The observers spoke individually to all the newly elected MLAs after dinner at a private hotel on Sunday night and completed the process late at night.

Congress

Power Battle for CM Position

All eyes are now fixed on the central leadership of the Congress, which will choose the new chief minister of Karnataka after extensive deliberations, one-on-one meetings with MLAs, and even a “secret ballot.”

After the Congress party’s overwhelming victory in the May 10 assembly elections, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D K Shivakumar began to fight hard for the position of chief minister in Karnataka.

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The party faces the uphill task of satisfying the two camps and is working on a ‘formula’.

The party high leadership has invited both of the top Karnataka officials to Delhi for additional discussions over the establishment of the state’s government. While Shivakumar is most likely to join Siddaramaiah later that night, the latter has already departed Bengaluru and will arrive in the national capital by Monday evening.

After engaging with each of the newly elected MLAs on an individual basis, the three central observers sent by the Congress arrived back in the nation’s capital on Monday.

According to sources who spoke to the media, the observers are compiling the opinions offered by each newly elected Legislator and will provide their report to party leader Mallikarjun Kharge by late Monday night.

B K Hariprasad, a senior party leader, said that during interactions with the observers, the MLAs were asked for their candid opinion on their choice of chief minister and that a secret vote was also conducted to determine the CM’s name. The ballot boxes have travelled to Delhi with the observers.

Who would be the new chief minister of Karnataka will likely be decided by Kharge soon. Before making a decision, he will probably consult with the top members of the Congress, such as Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the party is also gearing up for preparations for making the swearing-in ceremony of the chief minister a big show of strength, to which several opposition leaders will be invited.

Supporters of both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had raised slogans projecting them as the next chief minister outside the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party on Sunday evening.

The CLP had passed a resolution authorizing the party chief to pick the chief minister.

A poster war by supporters of both leaders also erupted soon after the party won the election.

Kharge had appointed former Maharashtra chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde, party general secretary Jitendra Singh, and former AICC general secretary Deepak Babaria as observers for the election of the CLP Leader of Karnataka.

The three leaders along with AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Surjewala arrived in Delhi from Bengaluru and will meet Kharge later in the evening.

The observers spoke individually to all the newly elected MLAs after dinner at a private hotel on Sunday night and completed the process late at night.

While Siddaramaiah is a leader with mass appeal, is popular among all sections and has the experience of running a government of full five-year term from 2013-18, Shivakumar has strong organisational capabilities, is considered resourceful and Congress’ troubleshooter during tough times and has the backing of the dominant Vokkaliga community, its influential seers and leaders.