Amid intense lobbying for the Chief Minister’s post, Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar left for Delhi on Tuesday to discuss with the party’s central leadership the issue of government formation in the state.
He and Siddaramaiah, both frontrunners for the Chief Minister’s post, were called by the Congress national leadership to Delhi for discussions. On Monday evening, Shivakumar had initially cancelled his visit to the national capital citing health issues.
Before leaving for Delhi on Tuesday, the Karnataka party unit chief said “the Congress General Secretary has asked him to come alone, and he was going to Delhi alone.”
Siddaramaiah reached Delhi on Monday.
Shivakumar said: “I’m going to Delhi. The Congress General Secretary has instructed me to come alone. I’m going to Delhi alone. My health is in good condition. Congress party is my temple, Congress party is our big strength, so no need for anyone to be worried.”
Speaking to reporters, he said: “People have blessed us (Congress). We have to put efforts unitedly to save and grow the public trust on us…May the people of Kannada naadu (region), mother Bhuvaneshwari and mother Chamundeshwari (goddesses) continue to bless us to protect the Constitution and make Karnataka ‘Sarva Janangada Shantiya Thota’ (Garden where all communities live in harmony).”
To a question on whether he would ask the high command to make him the Chief Minister, Shivakumar replied: “I have done my duty… Congress party is our mother, temple, everything. My General Secretary said — DK — (D K Shivakumar) you come alone. I’m going alone.”
The three central observers of the Congress, who interacted with newly elected party MLAs on their choice for Chief Minister, briefed party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and submitted their report on Monday.
The Congress Legislature Party (CLP), which met at a hotel in Bengaluru on Sunday, had passed a unanimous resolution authorising Kharge to pick the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Shivakumar is locked in an intense power struggle with Siddaramaiah over who will lead the government, after the Congress stormed to power by winning 135 seats in the May 10 elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly.
Amid speculations about the number of MLAs supporting him and Siddaramaiah for the post, Shivakumar on Monday said “his strength is 135” as it was under his leadership that the Congress won 135 seats.
In the just-concluded Assembly elections, the Congress scored an emphatic victory with 135 seats, while the ruling BJP and the former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19 seats, respectively.