Siddaramaiah's journey from anti-Cong MLA to Karnataka CM

A man rooted in 'Janata Pariwar' for two-and-half-decades and known for strident anti-Congress stance, it has been a remarkable turn-around for Siddaramaiah, who was sworn in as Karnataka's 22nd Chief Minister today.

From the early 1980s to 2005, Siddaramaiah who comes from a poor farmers family, was a die-hard anti-Congressman but his ouster from JDS of former Prime Minister Deve Gowda brought him to political cross-roads.

Joining the Congress less than seven years ago, he has today realised his life-time ambition.

After receiving a fractured verdict in 2004, the Congress and JDS formed a coalition government, with Siddaramaiah, then in JDS, being made deputy Chief Minister with Congress N Dharam Singh becoming Chief Minister.

 Siddaramaiahs journey from anti-Cong MLA to Karnataka CM

PTI

Siddaramaiah holds the grouse that he had the opportunity to become Chief Minister but Gowda scuttled his prospects.

In 2005, he chose to position himself as a backward classes leader. Siddaramaiah is from the Kuruba community, the third largest caste in Karnataka. He spearheaded AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) conventions, coincidentally at a time when Deve Gowda's son H D Kumaraswamy was seen as a rising star of the party.

Siddaramaiah was sacked from JDS, where he had earlier served as its state unit chief, with critics of the party insisting that he was removed only because leader Deve Gowda was keen to promote his son Kumaraswamy as the party's leader.

Siddaramaiah, an advocate at the time, also talked about "political sanyas" and even toyed with the idea of going back to his law practice. He ruled out floating a regional outfit, saying he can't muster money power. Both the BJP and the Congress wooed him to join them.

But Siddaramaiah said he did not agree with the BJP ideology and joined the Congress with his followers in 2006, a move considered "unthinkable" only a couple of years earlier.

Rustic in appearance at times, and not known to mince words, 64-year old Siddaramaiah never hid his ambition of becoming chief minister and had repeatedly stressed on it unapologetically and unhesitatingly.

Besides in 2004, Siddaramaiah had narrowly missed the Chief Minister's "gaddi" in 1996 also after the incumbent Deve Gowda went on to become the Prime Minister.

Siddaramaiah was pipped by  H Patel in whose Cabinet he was Deputy Chief Minister. He served as Finance Minister both under Deve Gowda and Patel.

Siddaramaiah, who had grown to become a mass leader, has the distinction of presenting as many as seven state budgets as Finance Minister.

His friends say he has a somewhat "over-powering" personality and remains steadfast in his goals.

He edged out veteran Congress leader and Union Labour and Employment Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge in a straight contest in last weeks Congress Legislature Party meeting.

A product of 'Janatha Pariwar', influenced as he was by socialism advocated by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, he bade adieu to his profession as an advocate to pursue political career.

Making his debut in the Assembly in 1983, elected from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysore on a Lok Dal party ticket, he later joined the ruling erstwhile Janata Party.

He was the first Chairman of 'Kannada Kavalu Samiti', a watchdog committee which had the mandate to supervise the implementation of Kannada as official language formed during Ramakrishna Hegde's chief ministership. Later he became Sericulture Minister.

In the mid-term elections two years later, he was re-elected and served as Minister for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services in the Hegde government.

However, Siddaramaiah tasted defeat in the 1989 and 1999 Assembly elections. He was Chairman of the KPCC Publicity committee of Elections in 2008.

Born on August 12, 1948 at Siddaramanahundi, a village in Mysore district, Siddaramaiah graduated from Mysore University with B.Sc. degree and later did his Law degree from the same University and pursued it as a profession for some time.

Siddaramaiah is married to Parvati and the couple has two sons.

PTI

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Updated Date: May 13, 2013 14:27:23 IST