Four AICC observers to visit K’taka to decide CM issue


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Congress is sending four AICC observers led by A K Antony to Karnataka tomorrow to elicit the views of newly elected MLAs on the issue of Chief Ministership.

"Senior minister A K Antony, AICC general secretary in-charge of the state Madhusudan Mistri, Luizinho Faleiro, who was Karnatataka’s screening committee chairman, and Union Minister Jitender Singh are going as AICC observers to Karnataka tomorrow," party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told PTI.

Congress yesterday made a spectacular come back in the state after seven years in its old southern bastion, decimating the ruling BJP whose fate was sealed by a fractious split and corruption charges.

Congress put up an impressive show in the elections bagging 121 seats, eight more than the half-way mark in a House of 224. Polls were held for 223 seats with one countermanded after a BJP candidate died.

The party’s victory immediately triggered a Chief Ministerial race involving OBC leader Siddaramaiah and Dalit leader and Central Minister Mallikarjun Kharge.
Other leaders like M Veerappa Moily, a former Chief Minister, also cannot be ruled out, analysts say.

The shock defeat of KPCC chief G Parameshwara virtually eliminated him from the race for chief ministership.

All 120 MLAs with me, says Siddaramaiah

Pitching himself as the next chief minister of Karnataka, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said Thursday that all 120 of the party’s newly elected legislators were with him. The Congress, he added, was sending observers from Delhi to ascertain from them their choice for chief minister.

"The observers will brief the party high command (on legislators’ choice) which will take the decision," Siddaramaiah, who was leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, told reporters at his residence here.

On the support he has among the legislators to become the chief minister, he said: "All 120 MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) are with me."

He did not give details of who would be coming as observers and when the decision on chief minister was likely to be announced.

The Congress won 121 seats in the 225-member assembly Wednesday when votes polled Sunday were counted.

"I am a strong contender," Siddaramaiah had said Wednesday even as vote count was on and trends showed that the Congress was heading for a clear majority in the house.

Another top state Congress leader who has shown keenness to lead the party’s government in the state after seven years is central labour and employment minister Mallikharjun Kharge.

He had said Wednesday that if the high command thinks he was fit for the post, it was for it to take the decision. However, he had said he did not want to be considered because he is a Dalit.

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