Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

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New Delhi:
Suspense over Karnataka Chief Minister post continued for Day 4 today, with the Congress struggling to bring state unit chief DK Shivakumar on board with the idea of a second term for Siddaramaiah in the top post.

Here’s your 10-Point cheatsheet in this big story:

  1. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi made two offers to DK  Shivakumar  at a meeting in Delhi today. But the two-hour meet remained inconclusive, with the top post contender turning down both options, sources said.

  2. Another round of meetings took place later in the evening, sources said, and some expect that an announcement might be made tomorrow.

  3. 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.  

  4. The offer indicated the party’s drive to reach an amicable solution. The one-man one-post rule was enforced by Rahul Gandhi when Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was asked to run for party president — a post currently occupied by Mr Kharge.

  5. 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 is ready to go second.  

  6. Mr Shivakumar has been insisting on the top post, citing his work over the last four years: Rebuilding the party after a chunk of its MLAs walked out toppling the alliance government with HD Kumaraswamy four years ago, and then leading it to the massive mandate in the last week’s assembly election.  

  7. 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.

  8. There is speculation that in the worst case scenario, Karnataka could become the next Rajasthan, where the rift between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and senior leader Sachin Pilot had brought the government to the brink of collapse. In Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath’s government collapsed after Jyotiraditya Scindia walked out with 22 loyalists.  

  9. 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.

  10. Settling the question of the top post between Mr Shivakumar and Mr Siddaramaiah, however, could be the smaller hurdle for the Congress, compared to pleasing the Lingayats, whose turnaround has contributed largely to its victory. A key Lingayat organisation has staked claim to the Chief Minister’s post, arguing that the party would not have reached where it is without their support.

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