The party leadership will now hold another round of meetings on Wednesday before announcing who will lead the government in the state.
Rahul Gandhi held discussions with Kharge in the afternoon, before the string of meetings started for resolution of the logjam.
Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah met Kharge separately in the evening, and the Congress president’s deliberations with the latter lasted much longer, around one-and-a-half hours. Siddaramaiah also met party general secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala separately. Both state leaders stayed back in the capital and, sources said, they are likely to be called for another round of discussions on Wednesday morning to cap the selection process.
While Siddaramaiah has pressed his claim, citing majority support among legislators, reports said Shivakumar pointed out that the veteran leader had served one full term and it was high time that he, being the party chief who steered Congress’s successful Karnataka campaign, was given the top job. While the former CM is the frontrunner in the race, Shivakumar’s insistence has complicated matters. There was speculation of the state chief threatening not to join the government if he was ignored for the CM’s post.
“There is some problem still, otherwise the process would have ended tonight. It will be done by tomorrow afternoon,” a senior party functionary said, adding that rotational terms between the two satraps was back in discussion. Shivakumar has in public refused to accept a split term.
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A senior leader, who was privy to the developments, said despite Siddaramaiah getting a majority of votes in the secret ballot conducted by three special observers, Shivakumar was not willing to budge. “He (state chief) is claiming that he delivered victory to the party and hence deserves the chief minister’s post,” he added.
A meeting of senior Congress leaders in the morning, which included Kharge, Venugopal and Surjewala, lasted for over one-and-a-half hours, where they, going by the buzz in party circles, decided to moot the power-sharing formula entailing two years for Siddaramaiah and three years for Shivakumar.
An office-bearer said Shivakumar wanted to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, but it was not possible since Sonia was in Shimla. He is likely to meet her on Wednesday.
Before his departure from Bengaluru, Shivakumar had said, “The God (party) and mother (Sonia) know what to offer to the children. I am going to meet my God in the temple. I am going alone. The general secretary had asked me to come there alone. We have built this party (Congress), we have built this house. I am a part of it. A mother will give everything to her child.”
On Monday, all three observers for Karnataka had submitted their reports to Kharge, and the meeting of the party leaders lasted for over five hours where a majority of MLAs are learnt to have backed Siddaramaiah’s claim.
Siddaramaiah had arrived in the national capital on Monday afternoon by a special flight, whereas Shivakumar didn’t come on Monday due to a stomach infection. He arrived in the national capital on Tuesday afternoon and met his MP brother D K Suresh.
Siddaramaiah came to Kharge’s residence along with his son Yathindra, MLAs Zameer Ahmad, Bhyrati Suresh, and KJ George.
Watch DK Shivakumar: ‘Will sit as common MLA if not made CM’