Will never backstab or blackmail, says Shivakumar ahead of his arrival in Delhi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Will never backstab or blackmail, says Shivakumar ahead of his arrival in Delhi

May 16, 2023 10:39 AM IST

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah appears to have surged ahead of his rival, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar, in the race for the chief ministerial post

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar on Tuesday pledged he will never backstab or blackmail the party as he left for Delhi amid a tightening race for the southern state’s top elected job.

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar. (ANI)
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar. (ANI)

“Winning 20 seats [in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls] is our next challenge...Ours is a united house. I do not want to divide anyone. I am a responsible man...I will not backstab...and I will not blackmail also,” he told news agency ANI ahead of his departure for Delhi as former chief minister Siddaramaiah appeared to have surged ahead of him in the chief ministerial race.

Shivakumar earlier on Monday publicly expressed his displeasure over Siddaramaiah’s claims of enjoying the support of the lawmakers. People close to Shivakumar said Siddaramaiah may be popular but the state Congress chief’s role in the party’s victory by ensuring a robust organisational structure cannot be ignored.

Shivakumar on Tuesday said they have built the Congress. “I am a part of it...A mother will give everything to her child.”

He called former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi their role model. “...Congress is family for everyone. Our constitution is very much important...we have to protect everyone’s interest.”

On Monday, the scene of the action shifted from Bengaluru to Delhi where a series of closed-door meetings continued till late in the night.

Siddaramaiah, 76, landed in New Delhi on Monday. Shivakumar initially said he was not travelling to Delhi because of ill-health.

Late in the evening, he said he will try to go to Delhi on Tuesday. He indicated the final decision on the chief ministerial post may be announced on the same day. Shivakumar is due to land in Delhi at noon.

Congress’s government collapsed mid-term in Madhya Pardesh in 2020 amid a similar tussle for leadership. The party has been facing similar problems in two other states where it is in power—Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

On Sunday, Congress’s Karnataka legislative party met in Bengaluru and passed a one-line resolution authorising the party chief Mallikarjun Kharge to pick the next chief minister.

Siddaramaiah is believed to have the backing of the majority of state lawmakers.

Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar were the main architects of the Congress’s biggest win in Karnataka since 1989. They have rivalling ambitions but projected a united front during campaigning.

Siddaramaiah on Monday said he was confident that the newly-elected lawmakers favour him in becoming the chief minister.

Shivakumar shot back, saying his strength is that under his presidency, 135 lawmakers were elected to the assembly. “There is so much I did as the party president,” he said.

Top seers from the Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities, two of the state’s most influential caste groups, have backed Shivakumar’s candidature.

Shivakumar’s brother, DK Suresh, met Kharge in Delhi on Monday.

Kharge was expected to take a final call after consulting Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. He has held discussions on possible options to offer to the two leaders.

The Congress swept back to power in Karnataka on Saturday, winning 135 of 224 seats, on the back of welfare-oriented promises and an anti-corruption plank. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party managed just to win just 66 seats. The Congress’s vote share in each of the state’s six regions was in excess of 40%.

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