The “secret votes” exercised by the newly elected 135 legislators of the Congress seem to have drawn the curtains on the suspense over the appointment of the leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) and, by extension, the next chief minister of Karnataka.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah reportedly received more votes than the KPCC chief DK Shivakumar, the second contender for the top post.
“Over 90 legislators voted in favour of Siddaramaiah to be the next leader for the CLP, eventually the next chief minister of Karnataka,” party’s sources told South First on the night of Monday, 15 May, as observers appointed by the Congress met AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge with the ballot box.
With this, Siddaramaiah is one step closer to becoming the 26th chief minister of Karnataka: The official announcement is expected any time from the All-India Congress Committee (AICC).
Once the decision is official, he will be heading the state for the second time in the last three legislative terms.
Meanwhile, Shivakumar, whose birthday fell on Monday, cited ill health and postponed his trip to Delhi late on Monday evening.
On the directions of AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge, the three AICC appointed observers: former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, AICC general secretary (GS) Deepak Babaria and former AICC GS Jitendra Singh collected the opinion from each legislator on the appointment of the leader for the CLP.
However, the legislators were asked to vote for their choice for the next chief minister at a private hotel in Bengaluru on Sunday in what was the first CLP meeting after the election. The polling process was held under the supervision of the AICC observers.
The observers then carried the secret ballots to the national party headquarters. The ballots were opened in the presence of Kharge in Delhi on Monday evening.
The high command is yet to declare the results of the secret ballot.
Siddaramaiah yet to meet high command
After meeting with many newly elected MLAs at his residence in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah flew to Delhi to meet the high command in the afternoon on Monday.
Sources said on Monday: “Siddaramaiah couldn’t meet the high command. He is likely to stay overnight at the national capital and meet the high command tomorrow morning.”
The former chief minister was accompanied by many senior MLAs (from his faction) including Gadag MLA HK Patil, KPCC campaign committee chairman and Bableshwar MLA MB Patil, and Chamrajpet MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan.
In the CLP meeting on Sunday, Siddaramaiah moved a one-line resolution authorising the AICC chief to appoint the next leader for the CLP.
This was endorsed by all the 135 newly elected legislators, including Shivakumar, AICC GS Randeep Singh Surjewala told the reporters on Sunday.
DKS postpones Delhi visit
KPCC chief DK Shivakumar’s visit to Delhi on Monday evening has been postponed to Tuesday as he cited a stomach infection and high BP.
After Shivakumar cited health issues, Bengaluru Rural MP DK Suresh, who is the brother of the KPCC chief, flew to the national capital Delhi.
“I have been suffering from stomach pain, which appears to be an infection. I am also under medication. On the recommendation of the doctors, I have postponed my visit to Delhi,” Shivakumar told reporters.
Asked whether he has any numbers to claim for the chief minister’s post, he replied: “I have 135 MLAs. I am the president of the KPCC. I won’t take any supporters of mine to Delhi. I will go alone to meet high command.”
However, sources claimed that Suresh was accompanied to Delhi by many legislators that supported Shivakumar for the chief minister’s post.
Belagavi Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar, Ramdurg MLA Ashok Pattan, Mudigere MLA Nayana Motamma, and many newly elected legislators were said to be in the Shivakumar faction.