Bengaluru, May 15: One post and half a dozen chief ministerial aspirants. This in nutshell is the dilemma of Congress in Karnataka, where all are waiting for the Assembly election results to be declared on Tuesday.
Even before the results of the highly-contested elections--which got over on Saturday--are out, at least leaders from the Congress are openly expressing their desire to sit on the "hot seat", if the grand old party comes to power once again in the southern state.
All these days, incumbent chief minister Siddaramaiah has been openly saying that the Congress will come to power in Karnataka for the second time in a row and he will get the coveted post once again. The Congress, however, did not declare any chief ministerial candidate ahead of the polls.
Hours after the voting for 222 seats (out of the 224 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka) took place last week, in a U-turn Siddaramaiah told reporters that he is open to the idea of a Dalit Congress leader to become the next CM.
Was the incumbent CM trying to woo the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) to the Congress' fold as exit polls have predicted a hung Assembly? Political observers say the JD(S) is never going to support the Congress if Siddaramaiah is the CM face of the alliance.
Siddaramaiah shares great animosity with the first family of the JD(S) as he left the party to join the Congress. So a Dalit leader as the CM of Congress-JD(S) alliance will be more acceptable to JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his clan.
On Monday, in an exclusive interview to NDTV, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara told that there are at least half a dozen CM aspirants in his party. Parameshwara minced no words when he said that he is also one of the CM aspirants which left the reporter of NDTV little surprised as politicians never express their ambitious so openly in public platform.
"There are at least half a dozen chief ministerial candidates in our party," Parameshwara told NDTV. Along with Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara, the other two Congress CM aspirants are senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress minister in Karnataka DK Shivkumar.
We are not revealing the other two names, as we are not sure about them and their aspirations. In fact, both Kharge and Parameshwara are Dalits and perhaps more acceptable to the JD(S) too. A few days before elections, Shivkumar said that he too could become the next CM of Karnataka.
It is pretty interesting to see how political bigwigs from the Congress are vying for the top post when there is no guarantee whether the party would form the next government or not in the state.
On their part, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are maintaining that former CM BS Yeddyurappa, who is also the party's CM candidate, will be the next head of the southern state. The BJP is confident of getting majority (at least 113 seats) on its own and form the next government in the state.
However, there are whispers that even if the BJP forms the next government in the state on its own, Yeddyurappa won't remain the CM for long. In the BJP too there are many CM aspirants, prominent among them are Ananth Kumar, DV Sadananda Gowda and Anant Kumar Hegde--and all three of them are Union ministers.