Siddaramaiah, who led the Congress party’s battle against BJP government in Karnataka, was chosen to be the new Chief Minister on Friday in a hotly-contested race, edging out party veteran and Union Labour Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge.
The 64-year-old backward class leader community was chosen during a two-hour long meeting of the 121 newly-elected MLAs in the presence of four AICC observers headed by Defence Minister A K Antony as CLP leader after collecting responses from all MLAs.
Siddaramaiah, who had joined Congress from JD(S) six years and was a deputy chief minister under Dharam Singh, was projected by the party as an “unanmimous choice” but there were enough indications that the choice was not easy. The legislators were asked to give their choice in writing, party sources said.
With the fight getting tougher between the two aspirants, the AICC team first chose to elicit individual opinion. Siddaramaiah moved a resolution requesting that the choice of CLP leader be left to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
However, the team asked the legislators to express their choice, in a secret ballot. Kharge, who was a serious contender, was seen leaving the KPCC office soon before the announcement.