Congress’s former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah exuded confidence that the party will form a government in Karnataka under its own steam as the party shot across the halfway mark by mid-morning. “We will come to power on our own strength… Congress will win with over 120 seats,” Mr Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.
The former Chief Minister — who is leading in Varuna against BJP minister V Somanna — has been predicting a Congress victory with a 200-plus seat count. He has also ruled out a coalition with former ally HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular.
The Congress leads are currently hovering around 120 — way ahead of the majority mark of 113 in the 224-member assembly. The party has summoned all its leaders to Bengaluru in what is seen as an attempt to corral them and pre-empt any attempt at poaching.
Reports say the party has booked several resorts and hotels in and around Bengaluru.
Congress sources said the party’s eventual plan is to take its MLAs to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where the Congress is part of the alliance government with MK Stalin’s DMK.
The party’s move has drawn derisive comments from the BJP, with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai saying the Congress does not trust its MLAs.
Mr Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra Siddaramiah has said that his father should get the state’s top post.
“We will do anything to keep the BJP out of power… In the interest of Karnataka, my father should become the chief minister,” Yathindra Siddaramaiah was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Mr Siddaramaiah had earlier said the selection of a Chief Minister is a “democratic process”, contending that both he and the party’s state unit chief DK Shivakumar are contenders for the post.
“The high command won’t take a decision on its own. Go by the opinion of the newly elected MLAs,” Mr Siddaramaiah had told NDTV in an exclusive interview.