Elected CLP leader, he will be sworn in on Monday

Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah has been elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party, paving the way for him to be sworn in as the 22nd Chief Minister of Karnataka.

The election of Mr. Siddaramaiah, who led the party to victory against the BJP in the Assembly elections held on May 5, was announced by Defence Minister A.K. Antony here on Friday.

Following this, Congress leaders met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and staked their claim to form the government. The Governor’s office, in a communiqué later in the day, announced the appointment of Mr. Siddaramaiah as Chief Minister.

The Congress is back in power in Karnataka after a gap of eight years.

The announcement of 64-year-old Mr. Sidaramaiah’s name was preceded by deliberations with MLAs under the chairmanship of KPCC president G. Parameshwara. The CLP leader was chosen through a secret ballot, which is a first in the party’s tradition in Karnataka. According to sources, Mr. Siddaramaiah got the support of 80 MLAs.

Other Congress leaders who were contenders for the post of Chief Minister — Union Ministers M. Mallikarjun Kharge, M. Veerappa Moily and K.H. Muniyappa — left the venue soon after the announcement of Mr. Siddaramaiah’s election.

A huge gathering of Congress workers, including Mr. Siddaramaiah’s supporters from Varuna constituency from where he was elected, broke into celebrations as soon as his name was announced.

The new CLP leader, who appeared on the balcony and waved to his supporters, then addressed presspersons and thanked Congress leaders, especially Ms. Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, for the confidence reposed in him.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that Karnataka would see a stable government, people having given the party a clear verdict. He promised “corruption-free, pro-people, development-oriented and transparent administration”, which had “moved 10 years backwards” under the BJP.

Swearing in on Monday

Mr. Siddaramaiah will be sworn in on Monday. The composition of the Ministry will be finalised soon afterwards in consultation with the high command. Questions such as whether the Ministry would have two Deputy Chief Ministers would also be looked into, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

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