Meet Karnataka’s new shepherd K Siddaramaiah

KSiddaramaiah is a popular name in the political scenario of Karnataka. Siddaramaiah won a seat to the Karnataka State Assembly for the first time in 1983. He served as the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka twice – in 1996 and 2004. He is primarily known for his financial sharpness and mass following among the backward classes. He held the portfolio of finance minister of Karnataka for seven times. Siddaramaiah took oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 13, 2013 in Kanteerva Stadium in Bangalore. May 13, 2013 is considered a very auspicious day because of Akashya Tritiya.

Early Life
Siddaramaiah was born in a remote village called Siddaramanahundi situated in Varuna Hobli of Mysore district and at a distance of 23 km from Mysore. He was born to a farmer family and is the second amongst the five siblings. He did not attend school till he was ten years of age and started his education from the fifth standard. But this late entry did not stop him from topping the state board examination. He went on complete B.Sc. and then Bachelor of Law from Mysore University. He was the first graduate from his village. He became a teacher for a short period at Vidyavardhaka Law College in Mysore before beginning his political career.

Political Career
He began his political career in 1983 after winning from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysore on a Bharatiya Lok Dal ticket. He later joined the ruling Janata Dal. He held various portfolios as a minister in the Janata Dal governments headed by Ramakrishna Hegde, H.D. Deve Gowda and J.H. Patel. He first suffered defeat in the Assembly elections of 1989.

He served as the Secretary General of Janata Dal in 1992. Among the portfolios handled by Siddaramaiah as a minister of the Janata Dal government are: Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka Minister for Finance Minister for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Minister for Sericulture Minister for Transport As a finance minister Siddaramaiah is one of the most experienced and widely respected figures in the state. He presented five successive budgets from 1994. He was appointed a finance minister in the Congress-Janata Dal-Secular government in Karnataka in 2004-2006. He presented the budget twice as finance minister during that period. He came close to becoming the chief minister of Karnataka twice – in 1996 and 2004. In 2004 Siddaramaiah was in JD(S) when he was tipped to be the chief minister.

But former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda promised Congress the Karnataka chief minister’s post in the coalition government. So, Siddaramaiah had to let go of his chance to become the chief minister of the state. Dharam Singh went on to occupy the CM’s post and Siddaramaiah was offered the designation of deputy chief minister. Inspite of all the ups and downs of a political life, Siddaramaiah never shied away from expressing his views. This is one of the reasons that led to his resignation from the JD(S) after he claimed that the former PM Deve Gowda was promoting his family members in the party. Though he was close to the former PM at that time and was even considered as a lieutenant to him, yet he did not let that affect his opinions. Siddaramaiah joined Congress in 2006.

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Even after missing the chance of becoming the chief minister twice, he did not lose hope. During this month’s election, the politician had publicly declared that this was his final attempt at electoral politics. Finally this year he was elected for the portfolio of the Chief Minister in Karnataka by the members of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), who chose him as the CLP leader. This is Siddaramaiah’s 30th year in active politics. He is to be sworn in as the 28th Chief Minister of Karnataka on 13th May, 2013 at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium.

Trivia about Siddaramaiah
Siddaramaiah’s father did not remember when he was born. So, when Siddaramaiah went to school one of the teachers entered a birth date for the sake of school records. That particular date remains his official birth date till now and the date is August 12, 1948. Siddaramaiah is always dressed in white kurta and panche, a kind of lungi. He carries an angavastra which he frequently shifts from one shoulder to another. At an age of about 64 years, this man with grey streaked hair is hundred per cent loyal towards his home constituency. He has no problem in being labeled as a rustic. He takes pride in the fact that he has come this far in his political career after starting from a humble background. He is one of the few politicians in Karnataka who maintain a private home front. His wife Parvathi is rarely seen in public. The couple has two sons. The elder son Rakesh helps Siddaramaiah in his political life while the younger son Yatindra is pursuing a medical degree.

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