With Siddaramaiah on his right and State Congress chief DK Shivakumar on his left, Randeep Singh Surjewala, the party’s leader in Karnataka, announced today that the two will work together and neither of them is a candidate for prime minister.
The decision followed the outbreak of internal fighting between their two camps over the leader. Although Siddaramaiah, a former prime minister, has denied any division within the party, loyalists from both camps have publicly supported their respective leaders for top posts in the state in recent weeks.
Ultimately, Rahul Gandhi had to step in and decide that no one would be favored.
When asked by NDTV who will lead the party – Punjab recently witnessed an ugly battle for leadership and Karnataka appeared to be moving in that direction – Mr Surjewala said that both Siddaramaiah and Mr Shivakumar had been asked to work together.
Congress says its mission in Karnataka is 150-plus and the MLAs will elect a chief minister after the general election. A long overdue reconstitution of the state congress is to take place in the next few weeks.
Unlike in the run-up to the elections in Punjab, when the name of Amarinder Singh was announced, the party unit Karnataka has so far not projected anyone as a candidate for prime minister.
The solution to the Karnataka crisis precedes the upcoming resignation of BS Yediyurappa as Chief Minister. Congress has attacked the BJP government for corruption and failure to perform, and is planning a series of protests across the state.