Hectic parleys were held on Wednesday to break the deadlock in deciding on the Congress’ chief ministerial pick in Karnataka with both the hopefuls Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar presenting their cases before the top brass even as the party asserted an outcome is likely within a day or two.
After the multiple rounds of discussions, AICC general secretary in-charge for Karnataka Randeep Surjewala said a decision on the new cabinet will be in place in the next 48-72 hours.
He also claimed that Karnataka will have a five-year-long stable government of the Congress and urged people not to believe in speculation and “fake news”, which he alleged was being peddled by the BJP.
Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief Shivakumar have held several parleys with senior Congress leadership and presented their respective cases before them.
Siddaramaiah is considered the front-runner while Shivakumar has dug his heels for the top post claiming that the assembly elections were won under his presidentship and that he has worked hard for ensuring this victory.
A section of the top Congress leadership feels Siddaramaiah’s popularity among several sections including the poor, OBCs and minorities can get votes for the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
Addressing the media outside Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s 10 Rajaji Marg residence, Surjewala said the party chief has been authorised to appoint the leader of the legislature party and that is why deliberations are underway.
“It (the decision to name the CM) is a matter of today and tomorrow and we will have a leader of the legislature party. Within the next 48 to 72 hours, we will have a new cabinet in Karnataka and in the first cabinet meeting, we will implement the five Congress guarantees and begin the work of building grand Karnataka,” Surjewala said.
Asserting that the Congress is committed to the state’s peace, progress and harmony, he said, “The Congress president believes in three principles — consensus, unanimity and unity. Mallikarjun Kharge, who has been authorised by the legislature party, will announce (the name of the leader) after holding due deliberations.”
Urging the media not to resort to speculation, he said whenever a decision is taken by the Congress president, we will be happy to inform you.
“Stop listening to rumours being planted by the BJP which is frustrated by the decisive defeat in Karnataka. The Congress is committed to the welfare of each Kannadiga, the Congress is committed to fulfilling its five guarantees, the Congress is committed to implementing its agenda. The Congress is committed to giving a clean, transparent and responsible government,” Surjewala said.
After several meetings on Monday and Tuesday, the day started with both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar meeting Rahul Gandhi separately at his 10, Janpath residence in the morning.
The meetings came a day after the two held separate meetings with Kharge at his residence and discussed issues regarding the government formation.
Shivakumar met Rahul Gandhi after Siddaramaiah and the two leaders spent over 30-minutes each with the former party chief.
He is also learnt to have talked on the phone to former party chief Sonia Gandhi, who is learnt to have told her to meet Kharge, the sources said.
The Karnataka PCC chief then met Kharge again and spent a good half an hour with him for the second day in a row.
While the supporters of both leaders are pitching for their respective leaders, the Congress is working on a power-sharing formula to accommodate all sections.
The Congress has held a series of meetings on who will be the chief minister of the state after the party staged a stunning victory in the assembly elections, winning 135 of out 224 seats.