WIll there be deputy chief ministers in Karnataka?

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Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar during celebrations after the party's win in Karnataka Assembly elections | Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: The Congress is likely to decide on the new chief minister of Karnataka on Monday. Talks with Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar are underway in New Delhi under the guidance of party president Mallikarjun Kharge.

Siddaramaiah is most likely to be elected as CM, at least for the first two years.

However, choosing deputy chief ministers is probably a more difficult task for the party, unless the high command takes the call on that too.

The previous Congress government under Siddaramaiah did not have a deputy CM. The outgoing Basavaraj Bommai cabinet did not have any deputies either. But Yediyurappa had three of his colleagues as deputies in his last ministry.

The first deputy CM of Karnataka was SM Krishna, back in 1993, when M Veerappa Moily was CM. In 1996, Siddaramaiah became deputy CM under JH Patel.

There are reports that Shivakumar said the new government could have one deputy chief minister. If Siddaramaiah is elected as CM, it is likely that the post will go to Shivakumar, unless he decides to stay away.

Shivakumar is from the Vokkaliga community. Lingayats, the most dominant caste in the state, would also demand a deputy CM. They too had helped the party in several constituencies. Shamanuru Shivashankarappa is the senior most Lingayat leader, but he is aged (92). MB Patil will be the natural choice from the community for the post.

Meanwhile, Waqf Board chairman Shafi Sadi (appointed during the BJP regime) has sought a Muslim deputy CM. There are nine Muslim MLAs, all from the Congress, in the new Assembly. Powerful leaders like UT Khader, Tanveer Sait, and Zameer Ahmed Khan can be considered for the post.

Meanwhile, G Parameshwara, who has earlier expressed interest in the CM post, has also been elected to the assembly. He was deputy CM in the Kumaraswamy cabinet in 2018.

However, not electing a deputy CM is unlikely to cause any revolt in the party provided the majority Congress enjoys in the new Assembly. Giving plum ministries to the leaders may pacify them.

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