Karnataka CM News: Karnataka Battle Won, Congress Now Faces Difficult Choice Between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar |

BENGALURU/NEW DELHI: The battle honestly won, Congress now faces the difficult task of choosing between Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar and former CM Siddaramaia for the post of prime minister. The sources said it could be a protracted process as the clear mandate allows them to be in no rush to answer the crucial call.
Though the party called a legislative party meeting on Sunday, sources said it could be just the first step in arriving at a decision, and a consensus on the sensitive issue could be reached in 3-4 days.
There is a strong push to hand over the reins to Shivakumar, who has been working on an organizational overhaul to prepare the party for the electoral battle. But there is also clarity in Congress that the greatest mass leader in his ranks is the OBC face to face with Siddaramaiah who is also a proven steward. Sources said he would also have a clear advantage in the race, given the views of lawmakers.
When asked who would become the CM, Siddaramaiah played on his strength by saying that the high command would send observers, take into account the opinion of the newly elected MLAs and make a decision accordingly.

This may also make the task difficult for Congress, given this Shivakumar he would be pushy after party performance in his home belt of Old Mysuru region where he emerged as the first face of Vokkaliga by defeating traditional favourites, JD(S) of Deve Gowda. Not one to be shy, the state president said he “handed over” the state as he promised to the Gandhis. Siddaramaiah is also from the region, though.
The biggest handicap for Shivakumar may be the multiple cases filed by the central polling agencies: CBI, ED and the IT department. He previously spent around 50 days in Tihar Jail on money laundering and tax evasion charges, and is currently on bail. There are fears that if CM is named, the agencies could speed up cases against him, creating an embarrassment for the government and Congress.
After the findings, an emotional Shivakumar said, “The BJP had hatched a conspiracy and gave me the option to go to jail or join the BJP. I chose to go to prison. Sonia Gandhi met me in Tihar Jail. She believed in me so much”.

In his quest for the CM, the biggest consideration for Congress would be to use the state’s victory to set the party up for a good showing in the 2024 election. A sulky Siddaramaiah would be bad news for Congress, as many in the party and beyond would they perceive as the best option to counter the BJP at both state and central level. Furthermore, Siddaramaiah announced that this would be his last “election of the chief minister”.

Sources said that if Siddaramaiah is given the top job, Shivakumar should be convinced and possibly appeased with a fee he deems appropriate. The issue is whether such compensation could be a rotating head ministry formula for Shivakumar. However, such formulas have not worked for Congress in the past, as seen in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Furthermore, it is unlikely to be acceptable to Siddaramaiah. Given that Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge is an old hand from Karnataka, he is likely to lead the process, consulting everyone including Rahul Gandhi.
Clock Karnataka Polls 2023: Who will get the best job, Siddaramaiah or Shivakumar?


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