Siddaramaiah calling shots

 Siddaramaiah’s name was confined to the state till recently. Now suddenly the name of this Kannada leader is echoing at the national level. English newspapers and channels are debating Karnataka chief minister’s performance, his capability and political foresightedness. They are doing a detailed analysis. No need to mention that all this is because of next month’s elections in the state.

Siddaramaiah is the man incharge for the Congress party in the state. From campaign to ticket distribution and from mobilising funds to analysis of caste groups, he looks after everything. Though Parmeshwar is the PCC chief, his impact is limited to campaign. Usually, in Congress ruled states chief ministers call the shots. PCC president is number two. However, this is true of all the parties. The role of party’s central leaders from Karnataka is also limited. National leaders like former union ministers Veerappa Moily, Margret Alva, Jaffer Shareef and B K Hari Prasad do not have major say. Among them Moily served as the chief minister and Alva as Rajasthan governor. No matter who is in which position, it’s Siddaramaiah who is calling the shots. He is considered the most important in the party after Rahul Gandhi.

Siddaramaiah who took over as the chief minister on May 13, 2013 is not a very popular leader. Ideologically, he is not considered strong. His politics change with the times and the requirements. The caste also played a key role in his political ascension. Known as a rival of Congress for long time, he joined the same party and served as the chief minister for five years. His political journey was not smooth. Defeats and defections ar not new to him. In fact he began his political career with a defeat.  Born in Mysore on August 12, 1948, he secured a degree in law. He even practised as lawyer for sometime. His political journey began with defeat. In 1989 assembly elections he lost to senior Congress leader Rajasekhara Murthy. He later became state secretary general of Janata Dal. In 1994 assembly polls, he was elected and was made finance minister in Deve Gowda government. In 1996 when Deve Gowda became prime minister, J H Patel was made the chief minister. Siddaramaiah became deputy chief minister.

Following the split in Janta Dal, he joined Janata Dal (S) led by Deve Gowda and became the party’s state chief. He lost 1999 assembly polls. In 2004, he again became deputy chief minister in Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition government. Dharam Singh was then the chief minister. Siddaramaiah was expelled from party in 2005 following differences with Deve Gowda. He then thought of floating a regional party. Later, he concluded that this is not practical. Finally he joined the Congress party. He joined the party at a public meeting in Bangalore in the presence of Sonia Gandhi. In December 2006 he won the by-election from Chamundeswari by a narrow margin of 257 votes. Deve Gowda, chief minister Kumaraswamy and deputy chief minister Yedeyurappa tried their best to ensure his defeat but failed. In 2008 he was elected to assembly from Varuna constituency. In 2013 elections he won the election and was the surprised choice for the chief minister. Since then he faced no hurdles. He had two sons. One of them Rakesh died of illness in Belgium in 2016. He is fielding his younger son Yatindra in the elections. In 2013, Siddaramaiah had declared that this is his last election. Now again he is saying that this is his last election.

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