After four days of hard negotiations, the Congress will announce Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar as his deputy at the Congress Legislative Party meeting in Bengaluru this evening. On Saturday, they will take the oath of office.
The Congress Legislative Party’s leader Siddaramaiah will be elected and cabinet formation discussions are almost complete, sources said, adding that Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge worked through the night.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi intervened on behalf of Mr Shivakumar, according to sources close to him. According to sources, the veteran leader agreed to make the “sacrifice for the party”.
DK Suresh, a Congress MP and Mr Shivakumar’s brother, told NDTV they are not happy. He said, “My brother wanted to be Chief Minister. We are not happy with this decision.”.
KC Venugopal met with Mr Siddaramaiah and Mr Shivakumar this morning. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since the tussle for the top position began. The two leaders then met with Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge.
In a meeting on Wednesday in Delhi, Mr Kharge and Rahul Gandhi had made two offers to Mr Shivakumar. However, both options were rejected by the top post contender during the meeting, according to sources. Later in the evening, another meeting was held.
According to sources, the first option gave Mr Shivakumar the position of state’s single Deputy Chief Minister alongside his current job as head of the state party unit. Six ministries of his choice were also offered to him.
Alternatively, Mr Shivakumar and Mr Siddaramaiah could share power. Sources said Mr Siddaramaiah was to hold the top post for two years, followed by Mr Shivakumar for three years. Neither Mr Shivakumar nor Mr Siddaramaiah were ready to go second, according to sources.
It is unclear whether a final decision has been made on rotational Chief Ministership. In the general election next year, the Congress’s performance in Karnataka will determine the power sharing arrangement, it is learned.
The Congress may lose the general election next year if it fails to find a solution that is acceptable to all. While Mr Shivakumar has the support of Vokkaligas, Mr Siddaramaiah has the support of AHINDA, a social combination of minorities, Other Backward Classes, and Dalits which voted for the Congress en masse.
Shivakumar, however, has ruled out rebellion. Regardless of whether they like me or not, I am a responsible man. I won’t backstab, and I won’t blackmail,” he said.
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