MLAs meetings, congressional ballot boxes tug-of-war for top job in Karnataka

Congress won the 2023 Karnataka assembly election


The Congress Party has asked its national leader Mallikarjun Kharge to decide who will be the new prime minister of Karnataka. Each MLA met with the Congress observer team and informed them of their choice by voting before leaving a five-star hotel in Bengaluru, where the Congress held a meeting of all MLAs.

Karnataka’s new prime minister and cabinet will take their oath on Thursday, sources said.

Congress called on Mr. Kharge to make a decision on the appointment of the Chief Minister after his MLAs from Karnataka concluded their meeting at the hotel in Bengaluru tonight.

Congressmen DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have expressed interest in the top post, raising concerns of a deadlock if the matter is not resolved.

Supporters of the two convention leaders slogged outside the hotel in Bengaluru where the meeting was held.

Congress Secretaries-General Sushil Kumar Shinde, Deepak Babaria and Jitendra Singh Alwar were the observers at the Karnataka Congress Legislature Party session.

The Gandhis and Mr. Kharge will attend the oath ceremony on Thursday. Congress has invited all “like-minded” parties to participate. The final outlines of the Karnataka cabinet will take shape in a day or two, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Siddaramaiah’s supporters put up a placard outside his home in Bengaluru calling him “the next prime minister of Karnataka”.

Posters also hung in front of Mr. Shivakumar’s house with “birthday greetings” to “the new Prime Minister of Karnataka”. His birthday is tomorrow.

The BJP was voted out in Karnataka, its only bastion in the south, until Congress yesterday took 135 seats in the 224-seat House of Representatives.

The BJP won just 66 seats, down from 104 in the 2018 state election. Not a single seat was won for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category. Karnataka has 51 reserved constituencies, 36 for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates and 15 for ST candidates.

The magnitude of the congressional victory, both in terms of seats and share of the vote, is a record for more than 30 years. The party won 135 seats – 55 more than in 2018 – with a 42.88 percent share of the vote. Congress came closest to this in 1999, winning 132 seats and 40.84 percent of the vote. In 1989, she won 178 seats with 43.76 percent of the vote.

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