Siddaramaiah will be elected as the Congress Legislative Party leader and cabinet formation discussions are almost complete, sources said.
New Delhi: After four days of hard negotiations, the Congress will announce Siddaramaiah as the Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar his deputy at the Congress Legislative Party meeting in Bengaluru this evening, sources have said. They will take oath on Saturday.
Following are the latest developments in this big story:
- Siddaramaiah will be elected as the Congress Legislative Party leader and cabinet formation discussions are almost complete, sources said, adding that Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge worked through the night to find a solution.
- Sources close to Mr Shivakumar said that he had accepted the Number 2 position following an intervention by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The sources said the veteran leader had agreed to make the “sacrifice in the interest of the party”.
- DK Suresh, Congress MP and Mr Shivakumar’s brother, told NDTV that they are “not happy”. “My brother wanted to be Chief Minister. We are not happy with this decision,” he said.
- Mr Siddaramaiah and Mr Shivakumar met Congress general secretary KC Venugopal this morning. This was the first meeting between the two leaders since the tussle for the top post began. The two leaders then went to meet Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge.
- Earlier, Mr Kharge and Rahul Gandhi had made two offers to Mr Shivakumar at a meeting in Delhi on Wednesday. But the meet remained inconclusive, with the top post contender turning down both options, sources said. Another meet was held later in the evening.
- Sources said the first option gave Mr Shivakumar the post of the state’s single Deputy Chief Minister post alongside his current job — heading the state party unit. He was also offered six ministries of his choice.
- There was also Option 2 — power sharing between Mr Shivakumar and Mr Siddaramaiah. Under this, Mr Siddaramaiah was to get the top post for two years, and would have been followed by Mr Shivakumar for three years, sources said. But sources said neither Mr Shivakumar nor Mr Siddaramaiah were ready to go second.
- There is no clarity on whether there has been a final decision on rotational Chief Ministership yet. The power sharing arrangement, it is learnt, now hinges on the Congress’s performance in Karnataka in the general election next year.
- Failure to find a solution acceptable to all may cost the Congress dear in next year’s general election. While Mr Shivakumar has a following among the state’s politically crucial Vokkaligas, Mr Siddaramaiah has the support of the AHINDA platform — an old social combination of minorities, Other Backward Classes, and Dalits, which had voted en masse for the Congress.
- Mr Shivakumar, though, has ruled out rebellion. “If the party wants, they can give me the responsibility… Ours is a united house. I don’t want to divide anyone here. Whether they like me or not, I am a responsible man. I will not backstab, and I will not blackmail,” he has said.