K Siddaramaiah was sworn in as chief minister of Karnataka on Monday as the Congress government returned to the state after seven years following a convincing victory in the recent elections.

The 64-year-old politician was unanimously chosen as leader of the Congress legislature party by its members on Friday, edging out senior party member and Union minister Mallikarjun Kharge.

The swearing-in ceremony presided over by Governor H R Bhardwaj took place at Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore, in the presence of Union minister Veerappa Moily, Maharasthra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and thousands of party supporters.

Siddaramaiah, who became the 22nd CM of the state, played a vital role in the recent victory of the Congress over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The shocking defeat of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara gave way to Siddaramaiah for the top post.

Siddaramaiah is a five-time MLA from Varuna in south Karnataka, and belongs to the Kuruba community, a backward but powerful caste in the state. He was the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing assembly.

However, he only served six years in the Congress party. He was an import from Janata Dal (Secular) and a protégé of HD Deve Gowda. He had been deputy chief minister twice and presented budget in the state seven times while he was with the JD(S).

The 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.

The Congress had last formed a coalition government with JD(S) in Karnataka in 2004 but it did not last long, giving way for BJP to head the state.