K Siddaramaiah is Karnataka’s new Chief Minister. The 121 Congress MLAs elected by the people of Karnataka voted via secret ballot to elect him this evening.
Mr Siddaramaiah is a backward caste leader with a big support base in the state. He has been the Opposition leader, is among those who scripted the Congress’ successful campaign. A five-time MLA from Varuna in south Karnataka, Mr Siddaramaiah is from the Kuruba community and was virtually the face of the Congress in these elections. Once part of the JD (S) and an HD Deve Gowda protege, Mr Siddaramaiah has been a Congressman for only about six years.
His closest contender for the post, Union minister Mallikarjun Kharge, on the other hand, has been a Congressman all his political life and has registered a formidable record – he has won nine straight times from the Gulbarg region in north Karnataka an is the only leader to have never lost in that area. The Dalit leader has always been in the running, but has been overlooked each time.
A central Congress team headed by Defence Minister AK Antony oversaw the election of Chief Minister. The team also includes junior sports minister Jitendra Singh, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Madhusudan Mistry and AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro.