- Dalit leaders have a strong presence in the Congress
- DK Shivakumar indicated question of chief ministership is open
- Siddaramaiah said this was his last election, "come what may"
Mr Deve Gowda is not fond of the Chief Minister, who once belonged to his party and was sacked. For his support to the Congress, Mr Siddaramaiah's exit from the top post is seen as a possible precondition. Mr Deve Gowda's party has said it is the Congress' "responsibility" to reach out if it did not get majority.
The former Prime Minister, who had alliances with both Congress and the BJP earlier, has ruled out an alliance with the BJP. Ahead of the election, he formed a tie-up with Dalit powerhouse Mayawati, which will extend to the Lok Sabha elections.
Dalit leaders have a strong presence in the Congress, foremost among whom are Mallikarjun Kharge and G Parameshwara.
Asked on Sunday about reports that a Dalit will be made the Chief Minister if Congress gets majority, Mr Siddaramaiah said he has no objection and will leave the decision to the party high command. But the 69-year-old was quick to add a rider. "I am not against anybody. You see, even the MLAs also have to give their opinion".
Asked if he would be amenable to negotiations with the JD(S), Mr Shivakumar, who shares his Vokkaliga roots with Mr Deve Gowda, was guarded. "Don't want to discuss this further. But the Congress will form government," he said.
Mr Siddaramaiah had earlier said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had persuaded him to contest this assembly election. On Sunday, he said this was his last election, "come what may".
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