Home / Politics / Policy /  Siddaramaiah to be next chief minister of Karnataka

K. Siddaramaiah was picked by the victorious Congress party in Karnataka to become the state’s next chief minister, ending speculation over who would get the job.

Congress members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) unanimously elected the popular backward caste leader in a contest that was overseen by a central team led by defence minister A.K. Antony.

“The decision was unanimous and the entire party is behind him to succeed," said MLA Roshan Baig, a former state minister.

The new chief minister will be sworn in on Monday morning along with new cabinet ministers.

The elevation of Siddaramaiah comes after he led the party to a simple majority in polls held on 5 May. In the 224-member assembly, the Congress party won 121 seats, while the ruling BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) got 40 seats each.

The party had decided not to project any single candidate as chief minister during the elections. Besides Siddaramaiah, Union labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Karnataka Congress president G. Parameshwar were front-runners for the position.

Siddaramaiah, 65, has considerable administrative experience, having served as deputy chief minister and finance minister in the Janata Dal government in the 1990s and the Janata Dal (Secular) government in the 2000s. After falling out with JD(S) chief Deve Gowda in 2006, he joined the Congress party that year.

Political analyst and Jain University pro vice-chancellor Sandeep Shastri said Siddaramaiah was a capable administrator in his previous roles and was one of the few leaders in the Congress party with a mass base.

“Both the leading candidates, Siddaramaiah and Kharge, are equally capable, and both would have been good choices," he said.

Siddaramaiah hails from Mysore and belongs to the Kuruba community, considered to be the most politically important after the Vokkaligas and Lingayats. His political career kicked off when he entered the legislative assembly on a Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket in 1983.

Impressed by his victory, then chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde invited him to join the Janata Party. He became minister for animal husbandry and veterinary services in 1985. Since then, he has handled portfolios such as sericulture, animal husbandry and transport.

Following the 2008 Karnataka election, Siddaramaiah was made the leader of opposition in the assembly. He led the Congress campaign in the recently concluded election.

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