All 120 MLAs with me, says Siddaramaiah

Bangalore, May 9 (IANS) Pitching himself as the next chief minister of Karnataka, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said Thursday that all 120 of the party's newly elected legislators were with him. The Congress, he added, was sending observers from Delhi to ascertain from them their choice for chief minister,

"The observers will brief the party high command (on legislators' choice) which will take the decision," Siddaramaiah, who was leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, told reporters at his residence here.

On the support he has among the legislators to become the chief minister, he said: "All 120 MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) are with me."

He did not give details of who would be coming as observers and when the decision on chief minister was likely to be announced.

The Congress won 121 seats in the 225-member assembly Wednesday when votes polled Sunday were counted.

"I am a strong contender," Siddaramaiah had said Wednesday even as vote count was on and trends showed that the Congress was heading for a clear majority in the house.

Another top state Congress leader who has shown keenness to lead the party's government in the state after seven years is central labour and employment minister Mallikharjun Kharge.

He had said Wednesday that if the high command thinks he was fit for the post, it was for it to take the decision. However, he had said he did not want to be considered because he is a Dalit.

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