Zee Media Bureau
Bangalore: The newly elected Congress MLAs on Friday endorsed senior Congress leader Siddarmaiah to be the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.
The announcement was made by Defence Minister AK Antony, who headed a four member observers team of AICC, which oversaw the exercise.
At a meeting convened to elicit the views of newly elected legislators, Siddaramaiah moved a resolution requesting that a decision on Chief Minister`s post be left to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
The central leadership, however, told the legislators to express their choice in writing, in a secret ballot.
Thereafter, Antony announced in the meeting that Siddaramaiah, who was Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, was the CLP leader.
Siddarmaiah is most likely to be sworn in as the Chief Minister on May 13.
The swearing in ceremony is likely to be held at the Kanteerva stadium in Bangalore. This is the first time that a swearing in ceremony is not being held at the Vidhan Soudha lawns, the sources said. The reason for shifting the venue is due to the ongoing metro work around Vidhan Soudha.
It was quite an effort to convince the Congress leaders to remain united over the candidature of Siddarmaiah as chief minister since he was in a straight fight with Union Labour and Employment Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge for the coveted post.
Siddaramiah was the chief of the Congress Legislature
Party in the outgoing Assembly.
KPCC President G Parameshwara, who suffered shock defeat in the elections that eliminated him from the race for Chief Minister post, later drove to Raj Bhavan along with Congress General Secretary in charge of the State Madhusudan Mistri and conveyed to the Governor H R Bhardwaj the CLP decision and requested him to invite Siddaramaiah to form the Government.
Parameshwara said only Siddaramaiah would be sworn in initially, adding both of them would visit New Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi to finalise the list of Ministers.
Later speaking to reporters, Siddarmaiah insisted that his selection was unanimous.
Asked about the "secret ballot", he chose to downplay it, saying: "The MLAs were asked to give their preference in writing, instead of orally, and it (election) was done in a democratic and transparent way".
"After eliciting the opinion of legislators, the issue was discussed with Sonia Gandhi. Subsequently, Antony announced that as per her directive, I have been elected CLP leader", he said.
With PTI inputs