Siddaramaiah will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka for the second term today, along with the Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar as the Deputy Chief Minister.
Congress chief M Mallikarjun Kharge has invited leaders of several like-minded parties for the swearing-in ceremony, which will see Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administering the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and his Cabinet at 12.30 PM at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
The venue is the same place Mr Siddaramaiah took oath in 2013, when he became Chief Minister for the first time.
The event may turn out to be a show of strength for opposition parties amid unity efforts to take on the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier, in Delhi, when reporters asked how many opposition party leaders would attend the swearing-in, Mr Shivakumar said, “That we have requested our AICC president to take care of, for us, first is the Congress president and the Gandhi family, we are here to invite them personally.” The Congress on Thursday named Mr Siddaramaiah as the next Chief Minister and state PCC chief Mr Shivakumar, a strong contender for the top post, as his only deputy, ending the tense deadlock after prolonged parleys involving its central leadership.
A meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) later formally elected Mr Siddaramaiah as its leader and Chief Minister, following which he staked his claim with the Governor, who invited him to form the government.
The 75-year-old will become the CM for the second time after his earlier five-year stint from 2013. While 61-year-old Shivakumar, who had earlier worked as Minister under Mr Siddaramaiah, will also continue as the party’s Karnataka state president till Parliamentary elections are over next year.
The first daunting task that Mr Siddaramaiah is expected to face is putting in place a Cabinet with the right combinations that will strike a balance in having representatives from all communities, regions, factions, and also from among the old and new generation of legislators.
With the sanctioned strength of the Karnataka Cabinet being 34, there are too many aspirants for ministerial berths.
Mr Kharge, former Congress Presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, also General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, several Congress Chief Ministers and leaders are expected to attend the event.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah are among those who have been invited to the swearing-in ceremony.
It is expected that at the first cabinet meeting after the swearing-in tomorrow, the new government might take measures to implement five guarantees.
The Congress has promised to implement the guarantees’ 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya), Rs 3,000 every month for graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (YuvaNidhi), and free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti), on the very first day of assuming power in the state.
“Fulfilling the promises made to the people is our first priority,” the Deputy Chief Minister-designate Shivakumar said today.
Elaborate security measures have been put in place in and around the venue to ensure that the event goes on smoothly without any hurdles amid the presence of several national level leaders and those from other states, officials said and added that traffic movement will also have to be managed as the event will take place in the heart of the city.
According to sources, a total of three platforms/stages have been set up and LED screens have been installed for people to watch the swearing-in ceremony.