Bengaluru: Chief Minister aspirant and Karnataka state Congress president D K Shivakumar on Monday cancelled his Delhi trip, hours after confirming he would be flying to the national capital, fuelling speculations that all is not well in the ruling camp over the CM contender issue. He cited health reasons for the change in his travel plans.
The senior Congress leader is locked in an intense power struggle with Siddaramaiah over who will lead the party-led government, after Congress stormed to power by winning 135 seats in the May 10 elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly. Siddaramaiah, a former CM, had left for Delhi by Monday afternoon to meet with AICC leaders.
”I have some problem in the stomach. Doctor is coming in ten minutes. It’s burning. It looks like some infection and I have fever….. please let me be free….” Shivakumar told reporters.
Sources close to him confirmed he is not going to Delhi today.
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Amid speculations about the number of MLAs supporting him and Siddaramaiah for the CM’s post, Shivakumar said earlier on Monday that his strength is 135, as under his presidency, the party won the said number of Assembly segments.
He said he and Siddaramaiah have been called to Delhi by the party high command and that he will be going there late due to personal commitments.
”Since today is my birthday, a lot of people have come to wish me. I have to go to my deity with my family, after going there, I will leave for Delhi. I don’t know what time I will be going to Delhi. I will take whichever flight is available,” he had said.
The Congress’ central leadership will be deciding on the new Chief Minister, after its observers submitted a report on the opinion of the MLAs which they collected in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Bengaluru on Sunday. The CLP had authorised party president M Mallikarjun Kharge to decide on the CM nominee, allowing the party chief to decide on an issue that was expected to take centrestage at some point of time post elections in the event of Congress emerging victorious in the hustings.
Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have never hid their CM ambitions.