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Siddaramaiah 'Fine' If Congress High Command Chooses Dalit Candidate for Karnataka CM Job

Siddaramaiah’s statement on Sunday came as speculation mounted over post-poll scenarios, with exit polls predicting a hung House where the JD(S) would emerge as the kingmaker.

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Updated:May 13, 2018, 11:56 PM IST
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Siddaramaiah 'Fine' If Congress High Command Chooses Dalit Candidate for Karnataka CM Job
File photo of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
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Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said he is open to making way for a Dalit chief minister if the Congress High Command decides so.

To a question on the possibility of a Dalit chief minister, he said, "It is fine if the party decides to have a Dalit chief minister."

The issue had been raised by BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during election campaign, daring the Congress to replace Siddaramaiah with a Dalit face. In an interview to Deccan Chronicle, Siddaramaiah had said there was "no race among Dalit Congress leaders" for the top post.

Siddaramaiah's statement on Sunday came as speculation mounted over post-poll scenarios, with exit polls predicting a hung House where the JD(S) would emerge as the kingmaker.

Earlier in the day, the CM had dismissed exit polls as "entertainment" asking his party workers and supporters to enjoy the weekend. Tweeting a day after Karnataka recorded 70% turnout in Assembly elections, Siddaramaiah said the Congress would return to power.

Siddaramaiah exuded confidence that the Congress would get an absolute majority in Karnataka and ruled out any possibility of a tie-up with the JD(S), led by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.

Speaking to reporters in Chamundeshwari constituency, one of the two seats from where he contested in the high-stakes polls along with Badami in north Karnataka, the Congress leader said, "This will be my last election."

Indicating a tight race between the BJP and the Congress, most exit polls for Karnataka election forecast a hung assembly but gave the saffron party an edge. Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat and ABP-C Voter predicted that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party by bagging 104 and 104-116 seats respectively in the 224-member House. The two news channels gave the incumbent Congress 78 and 83-94 seats and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda-led JD(S) 37 and 20-29 seats, respectively.

Any party or alliance will need the support of 112 MLAs to form the new government.

India Today-Axis exit poll, however, put the Congress in a pole position and predicted its tally in the range of 106-118 seats while of the BJP between 79-92. It saw the JD(S) tally between 22-30 seats. The Poll of Exit Polls on NDTV forecast 97, 90 and 31 seats for the BJP, the Congress and the JD(S), respectively. Times Now-VMR predicted that the BJP will win 94 seats while the Congress will bag 97 and the JD(S) 28.

However, Times Now-Chanakya forecast a majority for the BJP with 120 seats and gave the Congress and the JD(S) 73 and 26 seats, respectively. The Congress had won 122 seats in the 2013 state Assembly polls following a split in the BJP, which was reduced to 40 seats while the JD(S) also got 40 seats.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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