K Siddaramaiah is set to become the next chief minister of Karnataka after being elected the Congress legislature party leader by the party members on Friday.
The news came amid reports that the race for chief minister's post has been narrowed down to two senior leaders - Mallikarjun Kharge and K Siddaramaiah.
Most of the newly elected MLA's reportedly backed Siddaramaiah as the CM during a meeting with the senior party leaders. The swearing-in ceremony of the new chief minister and the cabinet will be held in the state capital, Bangalore on Monday.
A central team led by Defence Minister AK Antony arrived Bangalore on Friday to choose the new leader after consulting with the elected legislators.
Siddaramaiah is a five-time MLA from Varuna in south Karnataka, and belongs to the Kuruba community, a backward caste. He was the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing assembly. He had earlier said that he was one of the strong contenders for the top post.
However, he is only six years old in the Congress party. He was an import from Janata Dal (Secular) and a protégé of HD Deve Gowda.
Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun, who has been a Congressman all his political career and had served as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President and Leader of Opposition in the past, was one of the contenders for the chief minister's post. He is a Dalit representing the Gulbarga region in north Karnataka and has won nine straight elections. However, the party has been overlooking him for the top post. He has expressed his desire to become the next chief minister, saying that he was willing to take up the post if the high command thinks he is capable of.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a humiliating defeat in the assembly elections with the Congress winning 121 in the 224-member Assembly. The polling of the Periyapatna constituency in Mysore district has been postponed to 28 May due to the demise of BJP candidate Sannamoge Gowda.