The Congress on Sunday appointed three central observers, including senior leader Sushil Kumar Shinde, ahead of its crucial legislature party meeting in Karnataka to elect the new chief minister, amid hectic lobbying for the top post.
IMAGE: A poster of Congress leader Siddaramaiah put up outside his residence by supporters referring to him as ‘the next CM of Karnataka’ following the party’s victory in the Karnataka assembly elections, in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photograph: ANI Photo
Besides Shinde, a former chief minister of Maharashtra, the other observers are party general secretary Jitendra Singh and former All India Congress Committee general secretary Deepak Babaria.
AICC general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said the central observers would oversee the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.
‘Hon’ble Congress President has deputed Shri Sushilkumar Shinde (Former Chief Minister, Maharashtra), Shri Jitendra Singh (AICC GS) and Shri Deepak Babaria (former AICC GS) as observers for the election of the CLP Leader of Karnataka,’ he tweeted.
The newly elected Congress MLAs in Karnataka are meeting in Bengaluru at 5.30 pm to discuss government formation.
Leader of Opposition in the outgoing assembly Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivakumar are strong claimants and front-runners for the coveted post.
While Siddaramaiah (75) and Shivakumar (60) have held meetings with the MLAs loyal to them, a poster war has erupted ahead of the CLP meet.
The Congress on Saturday made a stunning comeback in Karnataka, ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party from its lone southern citadel with a comfortable majority.
Reacting to the party’s victory, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh on Sunday tweeted, ‘Not able to come to terms with the resoundingly decisive verdict in favour of Congress from ALL sections of society in Karnataka, BJP’s online hate factory is working overtime to manufacture lies. No doubt inspired by PM’s politics of hate & polarisation. Desperation of sick minds!’
In the May 10 elections to the 224-member assembly, the Congress won 135 seats, while the ruling BJP and the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19, respectively.
Even though the Congress managed to put up a united front before the elections, it faces an uphill task of sustaining that unity as the process of the CLP leader’s selection gets underway.
Factional wars have undermined party unity and prospects in various states, more recently in Punjab.
A similar situation is worrying the party in Rajasthan, where former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot is holding a foot march against his own government over alleged inaction on corruption during former chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s rule.
The issue of chief ministership has simmered in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh too.