No Chief Minister has returned to power in Karnataka since Ramakrishna Hegde of the Janata Party way back in 1985 and no Chief Minister has returned to power after completing a full five-year term since Devaraja Urs achieved the feat even further back in 1978. Now, according to research organisation C-Fore, Siddaramaiah, the incumbent Chief Minister of the state is expected to break both these records, at least Congress hopes he does so. When Siddaramaiah came to power a few years ago, no one expected him to last for five years as the CM of a fractious Congress government, but Siddaramaiah is proving his detractors wrong and is expected to complete his term. In a party which lacks leaders who can hold their own, there is even talk of projecting Siddaramaiah as a possible regional counter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the Karnataka CM is known for his social justice-based political agenda which can be seen as a counter-weight to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ‘development, divisive agenda,’ as per a Sunday Express report.
The BJP does see competition in Siddaramaiah and sources have told the Sunday Express that the Party’s National President Amit Shah had told members of the party’s core committee that it would be difficult for the BJP to win the assembly polls in the state at the current rate. The BJP President is said to have warned leaders against infighting in the state and has asked leaders to poach members of the Congress.
Siddaramiah enjoys a clean image despite the fact that he dismantled the state Lokayukta, the anti-corruption watch dog, and replaced the body with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which reported directly to the government. BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said, ”The Karnataka Lokayukta was regarded as a model for the whole country”. The opposition has also accused the Chief Minister of allowing ‘dubious characters’ as part of the inner circle of government. Siddaramiah’s friend, Kempaiah, a former police officer, has been appointed an advisor to the state Home Ministry and has been dubbed as the ‘Super Home Minister’. An internal survey conducted by the Congress suggests that the party may secure as many as 120 of the 224 seats in the state assembly, Sunday Express reported.