Everything you need to know about Siddaramaiah, Karnataka's next CM

Siddaramaiah will be sworn in as Karnataka's new Chief Minister for the second time

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

Siddaramaiah (Photo: PTI)

The Congress party emerged victorious in the recent elections, securing 135 out of 224 seats in the legislative assembly. In a series of meetings held in New Delhi, both leaders, along with party officials, reached a power-sharing agreement in the early hours of Thursday.
The race for the position of CM was between Siddaramaiah, who had previously held the same post from 2013 to 2018, and D K Shivakumar, the Congress state unit President.

Born into a poor farming household in the Kuruba community in Siddaramanahundi, a remote village in Mysore district (now Mysuru), the 75-year-old Siddaramaiah is the second among five siblings.

He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a law degree from Mysore University. According to Moneycontrol he developed impressive oratory skills as a student and was influenced by the brand of socialism advocated by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia.
India Today reports that Siddaramaiah was widely known as "farmer's lawyer" when he briefly practiced law. He became a voice for the farmers and a member of the Mysore Taluka Board.

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He went on to marry his wife, Parvathy, and have two children. His eldest son, Rakesh, a Congressman passed away in 2016 after multiple organ failures in Belgium. His younger son, Yathinda is also a politician in the Indian National Congress party.
Political Career

Siddaramaiah embarked on his political journey by contesting elections from the Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysore on a Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket in 1983. His unexpected victory led to his appointment as a member of the Karnataka legislative assembly.
He later joined the ruling Janata Party and served as the Minister of State for Sericulture. Siddaramaiah's political career saw him play a significant role as the first chairman of Kannada Kavalu Samiti, a committee responsible for overseeing the implementation of Kannada as an official language, which was established during Ramakrishna Hegde's chief ministership.

In 2004, a coalition government was formed by the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) (also known as JDS), with Siddaramaiah, then a member of JDS, assuming the role of Deputy Chief Minister. He also served as the state party president of JDS from 1999 to 2004. However, in 2006, Siddaramaiah joined the Congress after being expelled by JDS due to differences with party leader HD Deve Gowda.
Siddaramaiah is widely recognised as the architect of "Ahinda," an acronym representing the Kannada words Alpasankhyataru (minorities), Hindulidavaru (backward classes), and Dalitaru (Dalits). Coined by D Devraj Urs, the first backward-class leader of the state, Ahinda helped Siddaramaiah consolidate support across diverse communities in a state dominated by Lingayats, Muslims, and Vokkaligas, enabling him to position himself as a mass leader.

Ahead of the 2013 elections, Siddaramaiah led a march to Ballari, challenging the Reddy brothers—Gali Janardhana Reddy and G Somashekara Reddy—who were implicated in a major mining scam.
Chief Minister stint 2013-2018

In 2013, Siddaramaiah became the Chief Minister, surpassing M Mallikarjun Kharge, who currently serves as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) president and was the Union Labour and Employment Minister at the time. He also managed to retain his Varuna seat.
As chief minister from 2013 to 2018, Siddaramaiah implemented various welfare measures, including the Anna Bhagya (free rice scheme), Ksheera Bhagya (free milk), and setting up Indira canteens among others.

During his tenure, he did face allegations of corruption from the Opposition and fights within Congress.
Siddaramaiah is only the third Chief Minister of Karnataka, following S Nijalingappa and Devaraj Urs, to complete a full term in office.

He holds the record for presenting 13 state budgets during his tenure as the Finance Minister.
Leader of Opposition during BJP rule

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 104 seats, missing the 113-majority mark by nine seats. Congress won 80, a significant loss compared to the 122 seats it won in the previous poll. Siddaramaiah lost in Chamudeshwari but won from Badami.
During the BJP's rule, Siddaramaiah became the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) from 2019 to 2023.

Next CM of Karnataka
During the election, Siddaramaiah had repeatedly announced that this would be his last election and that he would retire from electoral politics. Upon Congress' win in the state, Siddaramaiah is gearing up to take charge of Karnataka for a second time.

During the 2023 assembly polls, Siddaramaiah had wanted to contest from Kolar and Varuna, however, he was only allowed to contest from Varuna. He won with more than 46,000 votes. Many news reports speculated on whether Siddaramaiah was banking on the Ahinda factor in the Kolar constituency.
According to PTI, Siddaramaiah has vowed to fulfill Congress' five pre-poll guarantees. This includes Gruha Jyoti (200 units of free power to all households), Gruha Lakshmi (Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family), Anna Bhagya household (10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL ), Yuva Nidhi  (Rs 3,000 every month for graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for diploma holders, in the age group of 18-25, for two years ), and Shakti (free travel for women in public transport buses).

In the same report, he further stated that these promises made by Congress will be fulfilled without burdening the state with debts. He added that it was BJP that had burdened the country with debt and pushed states into bankruptcy.

First Published: May 18 2023 | 3:49 PM IST

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