The Congress won the Karnataka assembly election 2023
The Congress party has asked its national chief Mallikarjun Kharge to decide who will be the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. Every MLA met the Congress's team of observers and told them their choice by vote, before leaving a five-star hotel in Bengaluru where the Congress held a meeting of all MLAs.
The new Karnataka Chief Minister and the cabinet will take oath on Thursday, sources have said.
The Congress asked Mr Kharge to take a decision on the Chief Minister's appointment after the meeting of its Karnataka MLAs at the Bengaluru hotel ended this evening.
Congress leaders DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have expressed interest in the top post, raising concerns over a stand-off if the matter is not resolved.
The supporters of both the Congress leaders slogans outside the Bengaluru hotel where the meeting took place.
Congress General Secretaries Sushil Kumar Shinde, Deepak Babaria and Jitendra Singh Alwar were the observers at the Karnataka Congress Legislature Party meeting.
The Gandhis and Mr Kharge will attend the oath-taking event on Thursday. The Congress has sent invitations to all "like-minded" parties to attend it. The final contours of the Karnataka cabinet will take shape in a day or two, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Siddaramaiah's supporters have put up a poster outside his home in Bengaluru, referring to him as "the next Chief Minister of Karnataka".
Posters also came up outside Mr Shivakumar's house, wishing "birthday greetings" to "the new Chief Minister of Karnataka". His birthday is tomorrow.
The BJP has been voted out of power in Karnataka, its only bastion in the south until yesterday, when the Congress took 135 seats in the 224-member house.
The BJP won only 66 seats, down from 104 in the 2018 state election. It did not win a single seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST) category. Karnataka has 51 reserved constituencies, out of which 36 are for Scheduled Castes (SC) candidates and 15 for ST candidates.
The scale of the Congress win is a record in terms of both seats and vote share in over 30 years. The party won 135 seats - 55 more than in 2018 - with a vote share of 42.88 per cent. The closest the Congress came to this score was in 1999 when it won 132 seats and had a vote share of 40.84 per cent. In 1989, it won 178 seats with a vote share of 43.76 per cent.