Party observers eliciting opinions from MLAs

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A.K. Anthony,                    Ambika Soni,                   Jitender Singh,             Madhusudan Mistry

Bangalore, May 10- The process of selecting the 22nd Chief Minister for Karnataka got off to a start in the State capital today with a high-level delegation of party leaders from New Delhi seeking individual opinions from the 121 newly elected MLAs in the State.

The high-level Congress delegation, comprising Defence Minister A.K. Anthony who is also the Chairman of the Co-ordination Committee for the party in Karnataka, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Minister of State for Youth and Sports Affairs Jitender Singh and Party s Karnataka in-Charge Madhusudan Mistry, which landed in the city this morning drove straight to the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office on Queen s road and began the process of collecting individual opinions from the newly-elected MLAs in their bid to arrive at a consensus over who should be the Chief Minister of the State.

It is also reported that these leaders will have one-to-one discussions with State party leaders and MLAs before convening the Legislature party meeting in which the next Chief Minister will be formally selected and the one-line resolution passed in that meeting would be taken to Delhi for formal announcement.

With Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Legislative Assembly Siddharamaiah and Union Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge being major contenders for the coveted post, names of leaders like former Ministers D.K. Shivakumar, former KPCC President R.V. Deshpande, Deputy leader of the outgoing Assembly T.B. Jayachandra and Lingayat strongman Shamanur Shivashankarappa are also making rounds, thus adding pep to the race for the CM s post.

While large number of supporters thronged the house of Siddharamaiah to greet him on his victory, it is interesting to see whether Kharge, who handed over the CLP leadership to Siddharamaiah on getting elected to LS in 2009, will re-enter State politics and head the Congress Government in State after a gap of nearly eight years as a sizable number of MLAs from Hyderabad-Karnataka area are reportedly supporting Kharge s claim to become the first Dalit Chief Minister of the State.

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