Profile of a rare Congressman - the honest Siddaramaiah

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Bangalore, May 10: He is plain, transparent, scam-free and it is a rare quality in politicians. And that is Siddaramaiah for you.

He will be the new chief minister of Karnataka, heading the Congress party government. Many outside Karnataka would not have heard his name as he was till last decade with the Janata parivar and a regional leader.

He joined Congress party in 2006 after being snubbed by Janata Dal (S) chief HD Devegowda. May be his hatred for Devegowda also was one of the factors that catapulted him to the chief minister's chair.

In this month's elections, Devegowda's JDS got 20 percent votes and increased its tally, while holding on to its base in Old Mysore area. The Congress would like to halt the march of JDS and Devegowda.

Siddaramaiah, who comes from Kuruba (Shepherd) community, has been a champion of backward and other backward class communities and their rights. He was born on August 12, 1948 in Siddaramanhoondi village in Varuna taluka of Mysore district.

He entered politics in his 30s after studying law and practicing as lawyer. He also dabbled in teaching for few years. Siddaaramaiah contested for Mysore Taluka board on Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket in 1978 and elected as a member. The big leap came in 1983 when he became MLA from Chamundeshwari constituency.

Siddaramaiah had to fight elections again in 1985 due to mid-term polls and won handsomely to become Animal husbandry minister in Ramakrishna Hegde's Janata Party ministry. Again a rarity, as he was made minister within two years of becoming a legislator.

Quickly he gained the trust of Hegde and managed to get few more portfolios like silk industries and transport. Life seems to have taught Siddaramaiah lessons of survival very early. In 1989, he tasted the defeat at the polls and had to wait till 1994 to become legislator and minister again.

In between, he was made general secretary of Janata Party and interacted closely with Hegde and Devegowda. It was a good political training and a time to build values that have come to personify Siddaramaiah. He has remained honest, corruption-free and bit upfront for the soft-heart.

To stay honest and resist temptations while sitting over state's treasury for two terms is remarkable.

In 1996, when Devegowda left state to become the prime minister, Siddaramaiah was made deputy chief minister under JH Patel. When the Janata Party split, he remained with Devegowda and nurtured the dream of becoming chief minister, since then.

Married to homemaker Parvathi and father of two sons, Rakesh the elder son and Yatindra, the younger one, Siddaramiah is known for temper. Rakesh has tried his hand in films and the younger son is a doctor by training.

Siddaramaiah harbours some radical views, and sometimes sounds out of tune with the practical politics. He is known for making brash comments that are harsh on some communities. He needs to practice statecraft of inclusiveness and evolve into a leader of Karnataka.

Not so god-fearing Siddaramaiah may have to have faith in his ability and trust his seniors in the party to become the face of Congress for the general elections.

In 2005, before joining the Congress, he had organised the backward class into a formidable votebank and he has recreate that magic again. And, that will be his burden.

Siddaramaiah named Karnataka CM

Opposition leader and Congress candidate Siddaramaiah celebrates victory from Varuna constituency in Mysore on Wednesday

Siddaramaiah named Karnataka CM

Congress leader and Karnataka leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, after casting his vote during assembly elections at Veruna constituency in Karnataka on Sunday

Siddaramaiah named Karnataka CM

Congress leader & Chief Minister aspirant Siddaramaiah is garlanded by his supporters at his residence in Bengaluru on Thursday

Siddaramaiah named Karnataka CM

Senior Congress leaders & Union Ministers A K Antony and Veerappa Moily with party's Karnataka chief G Paramswara and Siddaramaiah releasing the party'e manifesto for the Assembly polls in Bengaluru on Wednesday

Siddaramaiah named Karnataka CM

Senior Congress leaders & Union Ministers A K Antony and Veerappa Moily with party's Karnataka chief G Paramswara and Siddaramaiah releasing the party'e manifesto for the Assembly polls in Bengaluru on Wednesday

Siddaramaiah named Karnataka CM

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily (R), Union Minister of Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge (C) and Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah

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