The Congress leadership’s deliberations to select a new Chief Minister for Karnataka remained inconclusive as rival claimants, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief D.K. Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, refused to back down from their respective positions on Tuesday.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who met both Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Shivakumar at his residence, is likely to hold another round of meetings on Wednesday, sources said.
Mr. Shivakumar is learnt to have communicated to the central leadership that making him the Chief Minister would be in the interest of the party, pointing out that Mr. Siddaramaiah had previously had a full five-year term as CM, but lost the State election in 2018. Now at 76, the veteran should make way for a new face, he argued.
Party sources told The Hindu that several veterans in the party share the view that Mr. Siddaramaiah, who joined the Congress in 2006, should not get one more term at the cost of a hardcore party loyalist like the KPCC chief.
Digging his heels in, Mr. Shivakumar told central leaders that Mr. Siddaramaiah, as Leader of the Opposition (LoP) and Chief Minister, had held his personal interests above that of the party’s. It is learnt that in his discussions with central leaders, he catalogued Mr. Siddaramaiah’s actions that apparently hurt the party, including the defections that led to the formation of the BJP government in the State in July 2019. “It was his loyalists who defected,” a source close to the KPCC chief told The Hindu .