The Congress on Thursday hit back at the BJP for being critical of the delay in deciding a name for the chief minister’s post in Karnataka, saying it is a democratic party that believes in consensus and ”not dictatorship”.
The Congress also said it declared the chief minister and the deputy chief minister of Karnataka in three days of the first meeting of newly elected MLAs, following an intensive and extensive process of consultations ”completely alien to the BJP”.
Ending days of suspense, the Congress on Thursday announced Siddaramaiah as the next chief minister of the southern state and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D K Shivakumar as his only deputy in the soon-to-formed cabinet.
Several BJP leaders were criticising the Congress for the delay in announcing the Karnataka chief minister’s name amid hectic lobbying by Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the top post.
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In a tweet, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, ”2017: BJP took 8 days to announce CM of UP. 2021: BJP took 7 days to announce CM of Assam. 2022: BJP took 11 days to announce CM of Uttarakhand. 2023: Congress declared the CM & deputy CM of Karnataka 3 days after the first meeting of the newly elected MLAs, following an intensive and extensive process of consultations completely alien to the BJP.” Ramesh congratulated Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, and hailed them as the two ”great stalwarts” whose ‘jugalbandi’ is ”guaranteed to transform Karnataka”.
Addressing a press conference at the All India Congress Committee’s headquarters, general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal also hit out at those criticising the party for ”delaying” the decision.
He said, ”We got a mandate on 13th evening. 14th evening itself, we had a CLP (Congress Legislature Party) meeting. The Congress president deputed three observers to attend that CLP meeting.” ”Entire night of 14th and till morning of 15th, they took a one-to-one hearing from the each and every MLA of the Congress and finally they gave a report to the Congress president on 15th night,” Venugopal said.
He said the Congress is a ”democratic party, you know that”. ”We believe in consensus, not in dictatorship. Last two-three days, we are trying for a consensus. You know that in Karnataka, we had good dynamic leaders. Very good chunk of leaders is there in Karnataka for the Congress,” Venugopal said.
The Congress leader said Siddaramaiah is an experienced as well as a ”senior-most” politician and an able administrator, and he has contributed a lot to this election and to the party. ”Tirelessly, he worked for the party through out of the state. The same way our PCC President, D K Shivakumar, is one of the dynamic party organiser in the state. He electrified the cadre of the state,” Venugopal said.
It was a very good combination of Shivakumar as KPCC president and Siddaramaiah as CLP leader, he said, adding that both are big assets for the Congress in Karnataka.