Veteran Congress leader and nine-time MLA Siddaramaiah edged out DK Shivakumar to become the next Chief Minister of Karnataka, where the party secured a thumping victory by winning 135 seats. He will be taking oath as the chief minister on May 20. This came after a series of meetings at the Congress office in Delhi. This will be his second stint in the top post after he led a successful five-year term as Chief Minister of the Congress government between 2013-18. DK Shivakumr has been chosen as the Deputy Chief Minister of the state.
The announcement came amid an intense power struggle between Karnataka state chief Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah over who will lead the government. Both leaders held discussions with the party Central leadership in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi also met party president Mallikarjun Kharge and held a closed-door meeting for nearly two hours.
After the results were announced on May 13, three Congress central observers consulted with newly elected Karnataka MLAs and even took their votes in a secret ballot on their choice for Chief Minister. The observers then briefed party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and submitted their report on Monday
On Sunday, the Congress Legislature Party passed a unanimous resolution authorising party president Kharge to pick the next chief minister of Karnataka.
Siddaramaiah won the Varuna seat, defetaing his closest rival BJP’s V Somanna by a margin of 46,163 votes.
Siddaramaiah, an advocate, is known as a mass leader who joined Congress in 2006 after his ouster from JD(S) of former Prime Minister Deve Gowda. During campaigning, the 75-year-old had announced that this was his last election and he would retire from electoral politics.
In 2013 too, Siddaramaiah was preffered by the Congress leadership to take the top post in Karnataka. Then, he had edged out Mallikarjun Kharge, now the AICC President and the then Union Labour and Employment Minister, to become Chief Minister.
Born on August 12, 1948 at Siddaramanahundi, a village in Mysuru district, Siddaramaiah graduated from Mysore University with BSc degree. He later studied Law from the same institution and pursued it as a profession for some time.
Siddaramaiah made his debut in the Karnataka Assembly in 1983, getting elected from Chamundeshwari on a Lok Dal Party ticket. He has won five times from this constituency and tasted defeat thrice.
During his tenure as CM, Siddaramaiah earned praise for his populist “Bhagya” schemes. However, his government’s decision to accord “religious minority” status to the dominant Lingayat community saw BJP emerging as the single largest party in 2018 Assembly polls.
In 2018, Siddaramaiah himself lost in Chamundeshwari in Mysuru to JD(S)’ G T Deve Gowda by 36,042 votes. He, however, won from Badami, the other constituency from where he had contested, and defeated BJP’s B Sriramulu by 1,696 votes.