Siddaramaiah begins his second term as Karnataka CM
Bengaluru: Exactly a week after the Congress Party won the State Assembly polls, followed by a keen tussle for the CM’s post, veteran Siddaramaiah today swore in as Karnataka chief minister today. State Congress president D K Shivakumar, swore in as deputy chief minister. Eight Congress legislators – BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, G Parameshwara, KH Muniyappa, KJ George, MB Patil, Priyank Kharge, Ramalinga Reddy, and Satish Jarkiholi – took oath as ministers.
Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and his cabinet ministers at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here. It was at the same venue where Siddaramaiah had taken oath in 2013 when he became chief minister for the first time. This is the beginning of his second term as the CM of Karnataka. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar on taking oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the party’s national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra along with Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states – Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh), and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu (Himachal Pradesh), were present during the swearing-in ceremony.
In a show of Opposition unity, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Janata Dal-United supremo and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazagham leader MK Stalin were also present during the swearing-in ceremony along with Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti were present on the occasion. However, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Aam Aadmi Party supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bharat Rashtra Samithi supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav did not attend the function.
Today’s swearing-in ceremony materialised after a week-long behind the scene political manoeuvring within the Congress since the Congress Party got the mandate on the evening of May 13, 2023. On May 14 evening itself, there was a Congress Legislative Party meeting which was also attended by three observers deputed by the All India Congress Committee president Mallikarjun Kharge. The entire night of the 14th and till the morning of the 15th, they took a one-to-one hearing from each and every party MLA and finally, they gave a report to the Congress President on the 15th night.
However, following the delay in the choice of the Chief Minister attributed largely to the internal squabbling and the apparent tussle between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the coveted post, the Congress Party officially conceded that it was because it was trying for a consensus.
“Of course, everybody has their own wish, their own desire to become a CM, they deserve it also, both deserve it also. Therefore, Congress President had a serious consultation with the senior leaders and one-to-one discussions with Siddaramaiah Ji and D.K. Shivakumar,” K.C. Venugopal, Member of Parliament and General Secretary (Organization), AICC, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, AICC General Secretary (Karnataka), told media persons on May 18, 2023. They stressed that since the Congress is a “democratic” party, “we believe in consensus, not in a dictatorship”.
The tussle between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar compelled the AICC president to take opinions from the Gandhi family – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra along with other senior leaders. Finally, after consulting the Gandhis, Kharge took a decision on the Karnataka CLP leader issue. Siddaramaiah was preferred over Shivakumar on the basis of his seniority and experience as an administrator. At the same time, the party also acknowledged the state party president Shivakumar’s organising capacity which “electrified” the cadre of the state. “It was a very good combination Shivakumar as PCC President and Siddaramaiah as a CLP leader; both are big assets of the Congress Party in Karnataka,” Venugopal and Surjewala said. In the bargain, Shivakumar will continue as a PCC president till the Parliament election is over.