With the Congress party achieving a major victory in Karnataka, the focus has now shifted towards selecting a chief minister for the state.
With strong contenders in state chief D K Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah vying for the position, a team of observers appointed by the Congress met with the newly elected Karnataka MLAs on Sunday (14 May) to gauge their opinion on the matter.
The observers are on Monday (15 May) in Delhi to hold discussions with the national leadership, including heavyweights such as Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and the Gandhi family, namely, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Rahul Gandhi.
Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah might go to Delhi later today to meet their party's leadership as the chief minister lobbying moves there. However, they have been advised to proceed only if called by the party.
Shivakumar said he was undecided about today's visit to Delhi when asked by reporters.
After the meeting of Karnataka MLAs on Sunday (14 May), where Congress general secretaries Sushil Kumar Shinde, Deepak Babaria, and Jitendra Singh Alwar were the observers, the party announced that Kharge will make the final decision.
Crowds outside the Bengaluru hotel where the meeting took place chanted slogans in support of Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah.
Sources mention that the Karnataka chief minister and cabinet will swear in on Thursday (18 May), according to NDTV.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah and eight-time MLA Shivakumar openly aspire to be the next chief minister.
Shivakumar is said to be the Congress' troubleshooter, whereas Siddaramaiah is popular throughout Karnataka.
The Congress presented a united face with both chief minister candidates and Kharge addressing the media and party workers, after they secured 135 seats in the 224-member Karnataka assembly.
The Congress' victory has broken records in terms of number of seats won and vote share, the highest in over three decades. The party's previous closest win was in 1999, with 132 seats and a 40.84 per cent vote share. In 1989, it won 178 seats with a vote share of 43.76 per cent.
The BJP's seat count in Karnataka fell from 104 to 66 as they failed to secure any of the 15 seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, out of a total of 51 reserved constituencies, with 36 reserved for Scheduled Castes.
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