After three days of deliberations, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge is yet to decide on the next Karnataka Chief Minister as state unit chief D.K. Shivakumar remained firm on his demand for the post, informed sources said on Wednesday.
Top party sources said that Shivakumar, who met Kharge twice in the last two days, has been demanding the Chief Ministerial post in the southern state, where he had led the party since 2020 and delivered the result as per the party's expectation.
The source said that several formulas were suggested - rotational Chief Ministers for a period of two years and three years, appointing a Deputy Chief Minister of his choice, and having maximum say in the state cabinet.
"But he is not interested in those and wants to lead the state," the source added.
Asked if the party discussed a third contender for the chief ministerial post besides LoP of outgoing Assembly Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, the source said: "It came up during the meeting but no detailed discussion could take place on that issue as both the top leaders are vying for the post."
Shivakumar and Kharge both had met former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday afternoon separately. After this, Shivakumar once again met Kharge at his residence whereas Siddaramaiah stayed at the hotel here.
Shivakumar then also met his supporting party MLAs at the residence of his brother and party MP D.K. Suresh, and, as per the source, they "asked the state unit chief to maintain the pressure on the party leadership for the top post".
Shivakumar then also met Karnataka Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala at his residence here. However, the details of the meeting are yet unknown.
Soon after Shivakumar left from Surjewala's residence, the latter went to the party chief's residence for a meeting, where General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal too joined them.
On Tuesday evening, both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had met Kharge separately. Earlier that day, Kharge also met Rahul Gandhi, with Surjewala and Venugopal also in attendance. However, despite parleys after the three central observers -- former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, party general secretary Jitendra Singh and party leader Deepak Bawaria -- had submitted their report of the CLP meeting in Bengaluru on Sunday, no decision was taken.
At the CLP meeting, voting to select the new CLP leader was done through secret ballot.
Meanwhile earlier on Wednesday, Surjewala, speaking to the media, urged not to speculate on rumours or fake news and said that the party chief was holding deliberations to select the new CM face.
He also said that in the next 24 to 28 hours a new Karnataka chief Minister will be finalised and in next 72 hours a new cabinet will be there in the southern state.
The Congress had won 135 out of 224 seats in the state, whereas the ruling BJP was reduced to 66 seats.
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