Observers will take Karnataka MLAs’ opinion, high command will decide on CM pick: Kharge

New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said AICC observers will convey the opinion of the party’s MLAs in Karnataka to the high command which will then take a decision on the chief ministerial pick. He also asserted that everything has gone smoothly for the party in the assembly polls and the government will be formed soon.

The newly elected assembly in Karnataka has to be put in place as the term of the previous assembly expires on May 24.

Kharge, who returned here from Karnataka in the afternoon, said the priority of the Congress was to serve the people of the state, irrespective of who voted for the party and who did not.

In the May 10 elections to the 224-member Karnataka assembly, the Congress won 135 seats, while the ruling BJP and the former prime minister H D Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) secured 66 and 19, respectively. Talking with reporters at the airport after he landed here, Kharge said, “Our observers have gone to Bengaluru, they will reach in the evening. After that there will be a CLP (Congress Legislature Party) meeting following which whatever opinion is there, it will be communicated to the high command. The high command will then make its decision.” Leader of Opposition in the outgoing assembly Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivakumar are strong claimants and front-runners for the coveted post. The Congress president received a warm welcome at his 10 Rajaji Marg residence after his return from Karnataka following the party’s big win in the assembly polls, with supporters raising slogans in his favour.

Interacting with the media at his residence, Kharge said the win in the Karnataka assembly polls was a victory of the people.

“People in Karnataka have rejected the BJP. The people who were suffering from inflation, unemployment and corruption have ensured the victory of the Congress and that too with a big majority,” he said.

The Congress has been given the biggest mandate and it is for a stable government in the state, he said.

Kharge said the people, particularly the poor, women, minorities and Dalits, have accepted the five guarantees of the Congress and as per their expectations, these will be implemented.

“We will bring the five guarantees to life on the first day our cabinet is formed and will implement them… This is why we have got a big mandate, we have to serve the people. Our job is to serve the people and ensure the welfare of those who voted for us and also those who did not vote for us,” he said.

“Whatever happened during the election is in the past and we will work for the development of Karnataka and try our best to make it the number one state that it used to be. States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra used to be considered as well governed, we want that time to return,” Kharge said.

Asked when will Karnataka get a new chief minister, he said three people have been sent as observers and they will listen to the MLAs’ opinion and then submit a report to the high command.

The high command will then take an appropriate decision, Kharge said.

“We have to run the government properly and this will come out by consensus. Ours is a democratic party. .. Everything was smooth till now in the elections, we got a majority, we will form the government as soon as possible,” Kharge stressed.

The Congress on Sunday appointed three central observers – senior leader Sushil Kumar Shinde, general secretary Jitendra Singh (AICC GS) and Deepak Babaria – ahead of its crucial legislature party meeting in Karnataka to elect the new chief minister, amid hectic lobbying for the top post.

AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal said the central observers would oversee the CLP meeting.

“Hon’ble Congress President has deputed Shri.Sushilkumar Shinde (Former Chief Minister, Maharashtra), Shri.Jitendra Singh (AICC GS) and Shri.Deepak Babaria (former AICC GS) as observers for the election of the CLP Leader of Karnataka,” he tweeted.