BENGALURU: A day after asserting that he will remain Karnataka CM a full five years and junking reports of a midterm leadership change, Siddaramaiah did a U-turn on Friday and said he would “abide by the decision of high command on my tenure”. In the course of the day, minister Priyank Kharge joined the other two CM aspirants, DK Shivakumar and Dr G Parameshwara, with his willingless to be CM to turn the air thick with speculation.
With three aspirants in the CM fray, Siddaramaiah told reporters in Gadag that he won’t respond to any CM-change speculation. “I say something, and you (media) write something else. On Thursday itself I had said I am bound by the high command’s decision as ours is a high command-abiding party.”
In Hubballi, Shivakumar did little to conceal his anger at the power-sharing theory gaining currency by the day. He told reporters: “Did we tell you about the power-sharing agreement when we took oath in May? Why are you unnecessarily creating things? It’s not necessary.”
Amid uncertainty, Siddaramaiah has convened a breakfast meeting with 15 ministers at his official residence, Cauvery, on Saturday. Sources said these ministers have been given the task of assessing the winnability of likely party candidates in the state’s 28 Lok Sabha constituencies next year. “The ministers are likely to submit reports to the CM at the meeting,” a source said.
With Siddaramaiah’s statement on leadership change providing more grist to the mill, minister Priyank Kharge made no secret of his desire to occupy the top post if the high command asked him to replace Siddaramaiah. “Siddaramaiah’s statement is personal. The high command should decide on this. Four people in Delhi will sit together and decide these issues. If they say I’ll be CM, I’ll say ‘yes’ to it. Barring those four, whoever talks has no value,” he added.
State cooperation minister KN Rajanna, meanwhile, said Karnataka home minister Parameshwara has all that it takes to become CM.
BJP leaders said the decline of Congress government in Karnataka has “begun”.

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