The wait for the new Karnataka Chief Minister continued on Wednesday, despite repeated rounds of meetings and deliberations among the Congress party’s senior leadership. Four days after the Congress party ousted the BJP from its lone southern state of Karnataka in the assembly elections, the party is still deliberating on its next chief ministerial candidate. On Wednesday night, the residence of the party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge was visited by the Congress general secretary KC Venugopal, the party’s Karnataka representative Randeep Surjewala, and party leader MB Patil.
DK Shivakumar, the head of the Karnataka Congress, met Surjewala earlier this evening at the latter’s home. At the home of his brother, the party’s MP DK Suresh, Shivakumar also held a meeting with party leaders and his backers. Shivakumar said while arriving at Venugopal’s home, “There is nothing to tell…we have left it to the high command…High command will take the call. I’m going to rest.”
Shivakumar had already responded, when asked about his encounter with Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, “Nothing, no discussion. Just pranaam…” Amid the suspense over the probable names, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar also met former MP Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. Calling Rahul Gandhi a “jannayak” – leader of the people – the Congress tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi ji met DK Shivakumar ji and Siddaramaiah ji after the landslide victory in Karnataka.”
Earlier, Randeep Surjewala, the Karnataka-based Congress representative, stated that the next chief minister of Karnataka would be announced today or tomorrow, and a new cabinet would be in place within 72 hours. Surjewala also denied rumours that Siddaramaiah would probably be re-elected as chief minister. “Deliberations are currently underway by party president Mallikarjun Kharge. Whenever Congress makes a decision we will inform you. In the next 48-72 hours, we will have a new cabinet in Karnataka,” he told reporters.
The Congress leader emphasised that conversations are still ongoing and pleaded with the media to refrain from reporting on rumours. Basavaraj Bommai, a former chief minister of Karnataka, poked fun at the Congress party by saying that the delay in electing the state’s new chief minister demonstrates the party’s “lack of unity” despite having a majority.
The former chief minister of Karnataka stated to reporters on Wednesday that since the state’s voters supported the Congress party, the party must endeavour to promote development in the region. “Delay in deciding the CM despite getting a full majority shows a lack of unity in the party. The Congress Party must stop playing politics, select a new CM and serve the people by forming the government”, Bommai said. Outside of his home, Siddaramaiah’s supporters shouted his name and splashed milk on his poster. After winning the May 10 assembly election, the Congress became the only party in Karnataka. In the 224-member Karnataka assembly, it garnered 135 seats, while the BJP secured 66.