Behind DK Shivakumar Accepting No. 2 Spot, Sonia Gandhi’s Big Role
NEW DELHI: Karnataka Congress chief TK Sivakumar has reluctantly agreed to take over as deputy chief minister, sources said, after long deliberations and intervention by former president Sonia Gandhi.
Siddaramaiah has been chosen by the Congress top brass to replace Sivakumar as Deputy Chief Minister.
To resolve the impasse, the agreement was finalized after Sonia Gandhi spoke to Shivakumar, who was adamant about his demand for the Chief Minister’s post, yesterday evening.
Sources close to Sivakumar said he had decided to make a “sacrifice” and agreed to be the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka in the interest of the party.
TK Suresh, DK Sivakumar’s brother, said that though the Congress-led arrangement was in the interest of Karnataka, it did not make them happy.
“This decision has been taken in the interest of Karnataka and the party… My brother wanted to become chief minister but he didn’t. We are very unhappy with this decision,” he told NDTV.
The Congress had been struggling to appoint Sivakumar with the intention of securing a second term for Siddaramaiah, who has the support of most of the MLAs.
Both Mr Siddaramaiah and Mr Sivakumar yesterday met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary KC Venugopal to present their cases as contenders for the chief ministerial post.
Speaking to reporters outside Mr Kharge’s residence, Congress president Randeep Singh Surjewala said it may take another 48 hours and another 24 hours to announce the cabinet.
Sources said Mrs Gandhi spoke to Mr Sivakumar last evening after which he accepted the No. 2 slot.
The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to take place on Saturday and will be attended by all like-minded parties. Sources said the devolution arrangement is going well.
While Mr Siddaramaiah completed a full term in 2018 and is seen as a leader with mass appeal, Mr Sivakumar is known for his strong organizational skills and is seen as resourceful and problem-solving for the Congress in tough times.
Citing his work over the past four years, Mr Sivakumar insisted on the top post, following the mass defection of MLAs and the fall of Congress’ alliance with HD Kumaraswamy’s secular Janata Dal. But he also said he would not “blackmail”.
He said he promised Gandhiji and Mallikarjuna Kharge that he would save Karnataka.
“I have faith in you that you will liberate Karnataka,” Sonia Gandhi told me. I sit here and do my usual duty. You should have basic respect, some gratitude. They should have the honor to admit who they are. Behind the success,” he had earlier told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
An NDTV survey during the election campaign revealed that Siddaramaiah was the most popular candidate as the next Chief Minister of Karnataka. BJP won 66 seats and Kumaraswamy’s secular Janata Dal won 19 seats.
The Congress won an absolute majority in the assembly elections held last week, winning 135 seats in the 224-member assembly.
The BJP won 66 seats with 36 percent of the vote, while Kumaraswamy’s secular Janata Dal won 19 seats with 13.29 percent.