In a landmark victory, the Congress party secured a significant win in the recent Karnataka Assembly election, securing an impressive 135 seats in the 224-seat assembly.
In the wake of this success, the party ended nearly a week of speculation by naming veteran politician Siddaramaiah as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Alongside him, DK Shivakumar, who had maintained his claim for the top post until late last night, has been appointed as Deputy Chief Minister.
Despite previous contention, Shivakumar will remain the head of the Karnataka unit of Congress until the Lok Sabha election in 2024.
A discussion between Shivakumar and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi reportedly influenced the decision.
The Congress party dismissed questions regarding a potential power-sharing agreement between the two leaders, stating:
“Power sharing means sharing power with the people of Karnataka… that is all.”
The prospect of a ‘split term’ of 2.5 years each was reportedly considered but rejected, as neither of the two leaders desired to be the second in the line-up.
In a public announcement, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal confirmed the two leaders would officially assume their new roles in a swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, alongside an undisclosed number of ministers.
Both leaders have publicly expressed their commitment to their new roles.
Shivakumar tweeted his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of the people of Karnataka and ensuring a secure future under Congress’ leadership.
Siddaramaiah voiced his agreement with the party’s statement, adding no further comments.
Previously, Shivakumar had spoken about his sacrifices for the party and ruled out any chance of rebellion, which put any speculation of internal discord to rest.
It was confirmed that Shivakumar was offered the Deputy Chief Minister position and six portfolios of his choice, solidifying the decision to name Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister.
Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala confirmed the appointments and reassured that the decision-making process involved transparent discussions with other potential candidates for the top position.
They explained that the delay in the announcement was due to these extensive deliberations.
They emphasized that both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar were highly esteemed leaders, each deserving of the Chief Minister’s role.
After criticism from outgoing Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai regarding the delay in the announcement, the Congress leaders reiterated their belief in consensus and democratic procedures over dictatorship.
They stressed their consultation process involving Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and other senior leaders in the party.
The leadership race’s conclusion in Karnataka is a relief for the Congress, providing them with an opportunity to build on the momentum from this election win.
The party can now refocus its energies on upcoming elections in Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Chhattisgarh and face the challenge posed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.