Mysuru: With most of the exit polls predicting a hung Assembly, Chief Minister Siddharamaiah yesterday conveyed his readiness to adapt to changing scenarios by declaring that he is ready to step aside from the race for Chief Minister’s post if the situation so demands.
Speaking to press persons at his Ramakrishnanagar residence, Siddharamaiah said that it is the prerogative of the Congress High Command to take a call on the issue of Dalit Chief Minister.
Maintaining that he was ready to make way for anybody that the High Command chooses, he said that he had no objection for anybody among Dalits to become the Chief Minister.
Asserting that this was his last election, he said that, however, he will remain in active politics.
“I will have no contentions if the Party High Command desires to make a Dalit the Chief Minister. The MLAs have to give their opinion and the High Command should also agree,” he reiterated.
The change in Siddharamaiah’s stand is being seen as an expression of his readiness to prepare the ground for the post-result scenario in the event of a hung Assembly and the Congress is compelled to seek the support of JD(S) to form a coalition Government to keep BJP away from power.
Soon after Siddharamaiah made this statement, senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge and KPCC President Dr. G. Parameshwara, also frontrunners for the coveted post, said that they would shoulder the responsibility, albeit reluctantly.
Reacting to Siddharamaiah’s statement, KPCC President Dr. G. Parameshwara said in Bengaluru that the Congress High Command will decide the Chief Minister after seeking the opinion of all the MLAs.
In Kalaburagi, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said: “I am not one who is out seeking the CM’s post with an application in my hand. This issue has come and gone many times in my long political career. If it has to happen, it will happen.” But not everybody in the party is in favour of the Dalit CM pitch.
Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil, batting in favour of Siddharamaiah, said that traditionally, persons who had led the party during elections, had been made Chief Ministers by the party.
Meanwhile, BJP State President B.S. Yeddyurappa, reacting to Siddharamaiah’s statement that he is ready to make way for a Dalit as the CM, said that it is a clear indication of Siddharamaiah accepting defeat. “Siddharamaiah has accepted defeat. He is seeing the writing on the wall. BJP will win the election,” he pointed out.
BJP MP B. Sriramulu who is contesting against the Chief Minister at Badami was more vocal in his attack. “Arrogant and audacious that Siddharamaiah is, he (CM) is now changing his tune after the exit polls. The man who was all along asserting that he will continue to be the CM, has realised the impending defeat,” Sriramulu remarked.
Union Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda too took a dig at Siddharamaiah’s Dalit Chief Minister remark, saying that the Chief Minister has changed his stand sensing defeat.