After attending a closed door meeting with Rahul Gandhi on election strategy for Karnataka elections early next year, an ecstatic Siddaramaiah could not avoid interacting with select journalists from Delhi media at a 5-star hotel. That’s because the Congress leadership more than ever seemed dependent on him. A party survey showed that 20 to 30% Muslims votes had shifted to formations like the SDPI and AIMIM. In a four hour discussion with state stalwarts like Siddaramaiah and DK Shivkumar, Rahul had expressed anxiety about Muslims moving away from the Congress and urged the need to win them over. He wanted both Siddaramaiah and DK Shivkumar to work together. What made Siddaramaiah happy was that the party was now ready to endorse his AHINDA formula under which party candidates were selected from minorities, backward castes and Dalits. However, even as he was interacting with journalists, he received a call from Randeep Surjewala, AICC General Secretary in charge of Karnataka warning him not to utter a word to Delhi media as they tend to misinterpret his statement on Karnataka politics. Nonetheless, Siddaramaiah could not help conveying that he was the top leader in Karnataka not DK Shivakumar.