“I invite you to take oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka and D.K. Shivakumar to take oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka along with team members. The oath ceremony will take place at 12.30 p.m. on May 20, 2023, in Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru,” read the communication, a copy of which has also been sent to Shivakumar.
Ending days of suspense, the Congress central leadership earlier on Thursday announced that Siddaramaiah would be the chief minister, while state party chief D K Shivakumar would be his only deputy in the soon-to-formed cabinet.
Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, who were in a tight race for the top post, will take oath tomorrow at 12.30 PM along with a group of ministers-designate.
The hectic parleys, to help break the logjam over the top post in Karnataka, continued from Monday and went on till the wee hours of Thursday, as both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar presented their cases before the top brass.
The leadership issue in Karnataka lingered as Shivakumar had dug his heels in and asserted that he be made the chief minister as the party staged a stunning victory in the southern state under his presidency.
Sources said after Rahul Gandhi told both the leaders to sit together and work out a solution with Kharge, it was the party chief who told the duo to hold talks with Venugopal and Surjewala, and sort out the differences and agree to Siddaramaiah as the chief minister, whose leadership abilities and mass support helped him clinch the top post.
The decision, sources said, was chalked out in the wee hours of Thursday when all parties agreed to accommodate confidantes of both the leaders and asked Shivakumar to continue on the post of state Congress chief till next year’s parliamentary elections.
To maintain his number two position in the Karnataka government, Shivakumar was made the only deputy chief minister.
However, Congress’ headache of power distribution may be far from over with the announcement of the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. As per sources, there will be about 15 ministers who too will take the oath to office along with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar.
“But balancing power and ensuring all castes and communities are represented may not be easy. Rahul Gandhi had told Kharge that Muslims, SC/ST and women who had voted for the party in huge numbers, must be represented,” they said.
The problem is that leaders G Parmeshwara and MB Patil, who have been openly disgruntled after losing the race for the top post, will expect meaty portfolios in their kitty. Meanwhile, Shivakumar, to maintain his position of second tallest leader in the Karnataka government, will also expect important ministries under him.
In the May 10 elections to the 224-member Assembly, the Congress scored an emphatic victory by bagging 135 seats, while the ruling BJP and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19 seats respectively.