Demand for 3 more Deputy CMs in K'taka: Siddaramaiah says Congress high command's decision final

Currently, D K Shivakumar from the Vokkaliga community is only the Deputy Chief Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. (Photo | PTI)

BENGALURU: With the demand to have three more Deputy Chief Ministers resurfacing in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said the decision of the Congress high command is final.

Some of the Ministers have been pitching for Deputy CM posts to be given to leaders from Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST and minority communities.

Currently, D K Shivakumar from the Vokkaliga community is only the Deputy Chief Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.

"Whatever the high command decides is final," Siddaramaiah told reporters in response to a question.

A section within the Congress is said to believe that the statement by the Ministers seeking three more Deputy CMs, was part of a plan by Siddaramaiah's camp to keep Shivakumar in check, amid talks he might seek the CM post after two-and-half years of this government's tenure, and to counter his influence both in the government and party.

Co-Operation Minister K N Rajanna, Housing Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, Public Works Minister Satish Jarkiholi and a few others -- all considered close to Siddaramaiah -- earlier this week once again raised the pitch for three more Deputy CMs.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
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The Congress had decided that Shivakumar would be the only Deputy CM amid stiff competition between him and Siddaramaiah for the Chief Minister's post after the Assembly election results in May last year.

It was also said to be a "commitment" made by the Congress leadership to Shivakumar while convincing him to give up his claim for the CM post and to take up the role of Deputy Chief Minister.

Seemingly expressing his displeasure over the ministers' demand, Shivakumar, also state Congress chief, on Tuesday said the party would respond appropriately.

"You people (media) put in news if someone says something. Why should I say no to happy people (by appearing in the news). Let anyone make any demand, the party will respond to them appropriately. Simple," Shivakumar has said.

Asked whether there is a plan in the party to have more Deputy CMs, he said: "You please meet Mallikarjun Kharge (AICC president) and our in-charge general secretary or ask the chief minister."

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