Bengaluru: Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge will not take long and announce the name of next chief minister of Karnataka soon.
Speaking to reporters after a late-night meeting of newly elected Congress MLAs in Karnataka’s Bengaluru, Surjewala said, “Party leadership will take a decision. I can’t replace my judgement with Kharge Sahab’s judgement. He is our senior, and as you all know him. He is the son of the soil of Karnataka, and I’m sure he will not take very long.”
“The winning party will be in the first cabinet when we will implement our first five guarantees,” he said while responding to a query on plans for the oath-taking ceremony after the decision on the new CM of Karnataka.
The meeting was convened after Congress Legislature Party (CLP) unanimously passed a resolution authorising party president Mallikarjun Kharge to pick the name of the Karnataka Chief Minister. “The Congress Legislature Party unanimously resolves that AICC President is hereby authorised to appoint the new leader of the Congress Legislature Party,” the resolution stated.
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The meeting which started late on Sunday night at a hotel in Bengaluru, continued till 1.30 am. It was attended by all 135 newly elected MLAs.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and party leaders Jitendra Singh and Deepak Babaria were present in the meeting as observers. Party leaders like Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar, KC Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh and others also attended the meeting.
“Entire process of meeting individual legislators of Congress party has been completed with great bohemia. The observers met all the MLAs separately and recorded their views and now they will submit a report to the Congress leadership and after that, we will announce the next leader of the Congress Legislature Party,” AICC in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala further told reporters.
When asked if there were any gifts being planned for Siddaramaiah or DK Shivakumar on the latter’s birthday, Surjewala said, “I am not a party to those discussions as General Secretary I’m a simple worker to Congress who stood out with all my legislatures. We were sitting together and planning the future of Karnataka which is more important to us. We also celebrated DK Shivakumar’s birthday together.”
Ahead of the CLP meeting, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal had said the process of taking the opinion of MLAs will be completed by tonight itself and after that, the observers will move to Delhi to apprise the AICC president about the opinion. “This process of taking the opinion of the MLAs will be completed tonight itself. As Randeep Surjewala said, this is a unanimous resolution moved by Siddaramaiah and supported by DK Shivakumar and all the senior leaders,” Venugopal said.
Earlier, a huge number of supporters gathered outside the residence of Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar in Bengaluru on Sunday and raised slogans of ‘We want DK Shivakumar as CM’.
Congress, which registered an emphatic victory defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka on Saturday, had been facing the challenge of deciding the chief minister amid speculations of Siddaramaiah being the front-runner followed by state party president DK Shivakumar.
Kharge on Sunday appointed three observers in Karnataka including former Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and party leaders Jitendra Singh and Deepak Babaria for the election of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader in the state.
According to the Election Commission of India, Congress won 135 seats pushing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power in the only southern state it ruled and boosting its own prospects for the electoral battles ahead.
BJP managed to win 66 seats. Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) bagged 19 seats. Independents have won two seats while Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha and Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha won one seat each.
(With ANI inputs)