Who will be Karnataka CM? DK Shivakumar v Siddaramaiah poster war erupts | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Karnataka election: DK Shivakumar v Siddaramaiah poster war in CM race after Cong's big win

May 14, 2023 11:16 AM IST

2023 Karnataka Assembly election: The Congress scripted a massive win in the southern state, winning 135 seats in the 224-member House and vote share of 42.9%.

On Saturday the Congress celebrated an emphatic win in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election; the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was swatted away by a margin of 69 seats for a first state poll win since Himachal Pradesh last year. On Sunday the Congress woke up to a poster war after supporters of state boss DK Shivakumar and the outgoing Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah plastered the capital with posters demanding their 'man' be appointed chief minister.

Rahul Gandhi flanked by Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and ex-Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah during the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Karnataka's Chitradurga. (Source: Congress/Twitter)
Rahul Gandhi flanked by Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and ex-Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah during the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Karnataka's Chitradurga. (Source: Congress/Twitter)

That the Congress would have to choose between their two tallest leaders in the state was a given and only the (fortunate) realisation that everyone in the party had to work together to beat the BJP's much-vaunted election machinery kept a lid on a rivalry now apparently bubbling over furiously.

READ | Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah: Campaign trail allies turn CM hopefuls

And now, having secured what has been touted as a record win (in terms of vote share) it appears the gloves have come off; news agency ANI this morning shared videos of posters outside the Bengaluru residences of both DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah to kick-start the 'CM race'.

The contestants

Widely seen as the Congress' point man in the southern state, DK Shivakumar made his (first) play for the chief minister's post yesterday evening, shortly after outgoing chief minister Basavaraj Bommai conceded defeat.

DKS' message - 'I delivered Karnataka to the fold…' - was accompanied by an emotional moment as he thanked the Gandhi family (and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge) and said tearfully he had been inspired by Sonia Gandhi visiting him while in jail in Delhi in 2020.

Shivakumar yesterday played down any talk of confrontation in deciding the chief minister, insisting the decision would be taken in the 'temple' that is the party's Delhi office and that his only concern is to ensure good governance for the people of Karnataka and development of the state.

READ | 'I delivered…': DK Shivakumar's reminder as Cong mulls CM choice

He won from his Kanakapura stronghold by over 1.2 lakh votes.

In the other corner is Siddaramaiah - another battle-hardened veteran politician and one who has served as both chief minister and deputy chief minister. Seen as the more popular face of the party, Siddaramaiah may be banking on a different sort of emotion to return to the state's top post.

READ | Who is DK Shivakumar, who may become Karnataka's new CM

The former CM has said this - a ninth electoral win - his swansong; confirming his candidature from the Varuna constituency, he said: “This is going to be my last… will retire from electoral politics.”

Speaking after the results yesterday, he hailed the victory as a 'mandate against (prime minister) Narendra Modi, (union home minister) Amit Shah and (BJP chief) JP Nadda' and, significantly perhaps, also singled out Rahul Gandhi, declaring he hoped the ex-MP would become PM in 2024.

READ | Who is Cong veteran Siddaramaiah, a possible CM candidate

Siddaramaiah too claimed a big win; he won by more than 45,000 votes.

When will the race be decided?

The Congress has called for a meeting of its legislators this evening - at 5.30 pm. Will the chief minister be announced then? Possibly.

Messages have certainly flown thick and fast between the party's HQ in Delhi and Bengaluru, and deals and compromises will have been made and offered.

READ | How the Congress won Karnataka

All then await the Congress' answer to the question - 'who is the next chief minister of Karnataka'.

With input from ANI

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