Siddaramaiah to be new Karnataka Chief Minister

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Bangalore:  K Siddaramaiah is set to be Karnataka's new Chief Minister. The 121 Congress MLAs elected by the people of the state voted via secret ballot to elect him this evening. Mr Siddaramaiah won the backing of a majority 75 MLAs. Governor H Bhardwaj has invited Mr Siddaramaiah to form the government. The CM-elect is expected visit the Governor later today and inform him about when he would take oath and submit a list of ministers.

Addressing the press after his election, Mr Siddaramaiah said that the immediate challenge is to put the state's administration the right track.

Mr Siddaramaiah is a backward caste leader from the Kuruba community with a big support base, especially in the Old Mysore region in the south.

He has been Opposition leader and was among those who scripted the Congress' successful campaign. He is a five-time MLA and represents the Varuna constituency in Mysore district. Once part of the Janata Dal (Secular) and an HD Deve Gowda protege, Mr Siddaramaiah has been a Congressman for only about six years.

Mr Siddaramaiah edged Union minister Mallikarjun Kharge, his closest contender for the post. A Congressman all his political life, Mr Kharge has registered a formidable electoral record - he has won nine straight times from the Gulbarga region in north Karnataka. The Dalit leader has always been in the running for the Chief Minister's job, but like before, lost out this time too. 

A central Congress team headed by Defence Minister AK Antony oversaw the election of the new Chief Minister. The team included junior sports minister Jitendra Singh, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Madhusudan Mistry, and AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro.



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