Karnataka: Siddaramaiah says it is up to high command to decide on CM post

Amidst the calls for DK Shivakumar to be Karnataka CM, AHINDA activists have declared their support for Siddaramaiah, threatening statewide protests should there be any move to replace him.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah
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The ongoing tussle within the Karnataka Congress regarding the Chief Minister's post has intensified, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stating that he would abide by the decision of the Congress high command.

Addressing reporters on Monday, July 1, Siddaramaiah responded to the recent public appeal by a prominent Vokkaliga seer, Kumara Chandrashekharanatha Swami of the Vishwa Vokkaligara Mahasamsthana Mutt, who requested Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for Deputy Chief Minister, DK Shivakumar. 

“It is not a matter to be discussed in public. Whatever decision the high command takes, we will go by it. I don’t want to comment on what Swamiji says. Ours is a national party. There is a high command,” Siddaramaiah said.

Amidst the calls for DK Shivakumar to be CM, AHINDA (a coalition of backward classes, minorities, and Dalits) activists have declared their support for Siddaramaiah, threatening statewide protests should there be any move to replace him.

There have been calls from ministers perceived to be loyal to Siddaramaiah to create more deputy chief minister positions for leaders from Lingayat, SC, ST, and minority communities. This move is viewed as an effort to diminish Shivakumar's political influence.

Shivakumar, currently the only Deputy Chief Minister and also the state party chief, urged party leaders to refrain from making public statements about the leadership change or the creation of additional deputy chief minister posts. “If anyone crosses the limit, the party will take a decision,” Shivakumar warned.

Ignoring Shivakumar’s warnings, Congress MLA from Channagiri, Shivaganga Basavaraj, on July 1, supported Shivakumar for the top post. “Shivakumar built the party from scratch, and he should become the Chief Minister. He is the reason for the Congress party's victory and winning nine seats in the General Election from just one seat in 2019," Basavaraj told reporters. He added that it's a Congress tradition for the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) to become the CM. However, after the Assembly elections, the high command made Siddaramaiah the CM, he said.

When asked about Minister KN Rajanna's demands for more Dy CM posts, Basavaraj said those interested should discuss it with the high command. "Senior leaders like Rajanna should be role models for junior leaders like us. Despite Shivakumar's warning, he continues to make statements," he said.

After the Karnataka Assembly election results were declared in May 2023, there was intense competition between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the CM post. The Congress managed to persuade Shivakumar to accept the DCM post.

At the time, reports suggested an agreement was worked out based on a "rotational chief minister formula," which implied that Shivakumar would become chief minister after two and a half years. However, these reports have not been confirmed by the party.

Shivakumar has been open about his ambition to become chief minister, while Siddaramaiah sought public support during the Lok Sabha polls to help the Congress win the maximum number of seats in the state, thereby strengthening his position.

With IANS inputs

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