Bengaluru, May 14: The newly elected Congress MLAs are likely to 'vote' at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting is scheduled to be held today to elect their leader who will be the new chief minister of Karnataka at
Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar has a strong claim on the chief minister's chair, but there is also Siddaramaiah who is eyeing a second term.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said the CLP meeting will be held at 5.30 pm. The party has already given instructions to all its MLAs to arrive in Bengaluru.
According to party sources, the MLAs will be given an opportunity to "vote" for their choice of the CM candidate. "The party had done a similar exercise in Himachal Pradesh. There will be AICC observers who will conduct the poll. All the MLAs will vote and the CM candidate will be decided based on this process," sources in the party said.
Shivakumar, who was appointed KPCC president in March 2020, said he had promised Sonia Gandhi that he would "deliver" Karnataka. "Today, I have fulfilled my promise," he said.
An 8-time MLA, Shivakumar has the optics going for him. He broke down on national television, profusely thanking the Gandhi family. Shivakumar's supporters have been running the #DKforCM campaign on social media.
In the election, the Congress' domination of the Old Mysuru region would go to Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga.
It is also generally perceived that whoever is the KPCC president becomes a natural choice for the CM's post - SM Krishna and Veerendra Patil are examples.
The party must balance Shivakumar's aspiration with Siddaramaiah's expectation. Being the only CM to have completed the full 5-year term, Siddaramaiah is known for his adminstrative acumen and grip over financial matters - he has presented a record 13 budgets.
Siddaramaiah is the Congress' biggest mass leader and face of the Ahinda (minorities, backward classes and Dalits). Siddaramaiah's declaration that this will be his last election may also help him garner points on the grounds of seniority. Apparently, Siddaramaiah is believed to enjoy Rahul Gandhi's backing.